A Victory for the IWW against Jimmy John's
- News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
NLRB: Local Jimmy John’s Owner Violated Labor Laws
The National Labor Relations Board found that Minnetrista-based Jimmy
John’s franchisee MikLin Enterprises violated labor laws when it fired
six employees for engaging in union activities.
Federal regulators have found that local Jimmy John’s franchisee MikLin
Enterprises, Inc., violated workers’ rights when it fired six employees
in March for engaging in union activities, according to an announcement
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) sided with the workers by
issuing a complaint against the Minnetrista-based franchisee, which owns
10 restaurants in Minneapolis and St. Louis Park. The complaint was
issued in response to unfair labor accusations launched by members of
the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)—an international labor union
with which some Jimmy John’s workers are affiliated.
The IWW filed the complaint after the workers were fired after they
distributed roughly 3,000 posters and protested the company’s sick-day
policy. The posters depicted two identical sandwiches, stating that one
sandwich was made by a healthy Jimmy John’s employee, while the other
was made by a sick worker—implying that the restaurant’s sick-day policy
causes employees to attend work while ill, which could jeopardize
Mike Mulligan, president of MikLin Enterprises, told Twin Cities
Business in March that the posters crossed the line of what is protected
under NLRB regulations. “These posters are false and misleading at best,
and in the view of our company, they are defamatory, disparaging, and
dishonest,” he said at the time.
However, the NLRB found that the poster protest was an organizing
activity protected by federal labor laws, according to the Star Tribune.
The NLRB also alleges that supervisors at the Jimmy John’s stores owned
by MikLin Enterprises made disparaging remarks against the fired workers
on Facebook and threatened to fire workers who support union activity.
“It’s basically a complete legal victory for us,” Micah Buckley-Farlee,
one of the fired employees, told the Star Tribune. He added that the IWW
will propose a settlement with Miklin that includes reinstatement of the
six workers with back pay.
Mulligan, however, told the Minneapolis newspaper that his company will
“vigorously defend” itself against allegations in the NLRB complaint.
“We don’t believe the union publicity campaign falsely implying that our
customers are at risk of foodborne illness is protected activity [under
federal labor laws].”
If IWW and the franchisee don’t reach a settlement, the NLRB’s complaint
will be heard by one of the agency’s administrative law judges.
In October 2010, the restaurants’ workers voted against union
representation by the IWW, but the NLRB nullified the vote in January,
giving the union another shot at getting selected to represent the
workers, according to the Star Tribune.
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"From the point of view of the defense of our society,
there only exists one danger -- that workers succeed in
speaking to each other about their condition and their
aspirations _without intermediaries_."
--Censor (Gianfranco Sanguinetti), _The Real Report on
the Last Chance to Save Capitalism in Italy_