Jimmy John's fires six main union organizers [UPDATE]

Categories: Investigations

sickdayposter2.jpg
Jimmy John's Workers Union
The Poster that provoked the firings.
The ongoing saga of the drive to unionize Minneapolis Jimmy Johns workers took a dramatic turn yesterday when six of the central organizers behind the campaign were abruptly fired by the franchise's management.

The firings came shortly after the union stepped up its campaign for paid sick days. Under current Jimmy John's policy, workers can only call in sick if they can find a worker to replace them. Organizers say that's often difficult, so workers often have no choice to make sandwiches even when ill.

Last week the union plastered the city with 3,000 posters calling attention to the public health risk posed by sick food workers.

The six fired workers--David Boehnke, Micah Buckley-Farlee, Erik Forman, Davis Ritsema, Max Specter, and Mike Wilkow--say the firings are illegal.

"This is old-school vicious anti-union behavior, like you'd see before workers had any rights at all," Erik Forman told City Pages today. "You can't fire workers for organizing activities--we're filing a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board today."

Forman said the union will ask the NLRB for an injunction, which would put the fired workers back to work immediately while the board considers the dispute.

In a statement released this afternoon, Mike Mulligan of franchise owner MikLin Enterprises said the workers were fired for putting up the posters, which "impermissibly disparage our product by telling customers that eating a Jimmy John's sandwich will put them at risk of contracting food-borne illness."

That accusation just isn't true, Mulligan said, citing his franchise's "spotless record for health, sanitation and cleanliness" over nearly ten years.

Mulligan also said that while the posters claim Jimmy John's workers aren't allowed to call in sick, they know that's not true, which "further underscores these individuals' extreme disloyalty and malicious intent to damage our company."

Forman said he doesn't believe the posters are defamatory.

"The lawyers we've spoken to say we don't have to worry about that, because it's not defamation if what you're saying is true," Forman said. "We have the right to communicate with the public about health concerns."

Here's a closer look at the poster, with Mulligan's phone number redacted:

sickdayposter2.jpg


Previous Jimmy John's Union Coverage:



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63 comments
Amanda
Amanda

No wonder you guys don't get sick days! Those sandwiches look like crap! There's mayo on the bread and gooped all messy-like in the front and the meat is hanging out all crappy. Not to mention, is that avocado glopped up on the side? What a mess!

Bailie
Bailie

I won't eat there until they allow the workers fair treatment with representation.

kkkkkk
kkkkkk

Fuck the little union bastards....see what the unions are doing to the country now...bankrupting it..

JJ's is awesome and i'M NOT ABOUT TO PAY ANY MORE SO SOME JERK CAN GET A PAID SICK DAY!!

Jordan C Brandt
Jordan C Brandt

Are all the Jimmy John's in MPLS owned by this same guy? I love Billy Clubs with dijon but I'm not giving any of my money to this d bag.

mattaudio
mattaudio

I don't really get what the big deal is. If you want a job that offers sick days, find a job that offers sick days. If enough people do this, Jimmy Johns will either have to pay more or provide better benefits to their workers. It doesn't take a union.

Kkk
Kkk

Who gives a crap about Jimmy John's and their union? Their sandwhiches aren't very good anyway, and if you have half a brain, you would realize that eating there is an unwise health choice to begin with - healthy employee or not.

Already sick
Already sick

I, along with about 20 colleagues, did get a foodborne illness from one of the stores. Health department investigated it.

Richard
Richard

I have been a food service professional, and am graduate of the National Institute for the Food Industry. The fact of the company not allowing the employees to call in sick, is in fact a violation of national health standards, as well as a violation in most states. This can cause the spread of an epidemic! Spread this article far and wide, and this franchise holder will be forced to sell or go broke! If any of the employees in Miinneapolis read this call your local health inspectors. Make a compalint to them. Get this documented with the state health inpetion services!

Sandy
Sandy

I ate there once. And then I learned how much I shouldn't have. Won't make that mistake again. But I DO want to take crowds in there every day just to enjoy the free smells and buy NOTHING. How about it Union friends?

Trump..you're fired!!
Trump..you're fired!!

Slapping some poor quality cold cuts on some bread & wrapping a sheet of paper around it isn't really a job with a future that requires benefits. Get motivated,educate yourself & aspire to earn a proper living as an adult.

Joe
Joe

I for one will be making a special stop at Jimmy Johns to purchase lunch for myself and my co-workers today now that these thugs won't be anywhere near my food.

Proletariat
Proletariat

The policy of Jimmy John's is that a worker must find a replacement to work if they cannot themselves(a reasonable request). If no one is available to work then they are not immediately fired, especially if they spoke with the manager about the situation. They may receive a write-up; with accrual of three allowing for termination. Managers are not allowed to let anyone who is sick work. Not calling and not showing up to work can be grounds for immediate termination.

Managers will often work with employees who cannot always be there when they need to be. It seems the employees and managers did not have a good report. Workers may not cover a shift simply out of dislike for a fellow employee. Fostering good relationships among employees helps in this respect. Health code prohibits those who are sick to make food. The decision to use a sick worker is ultimately up to the manager running the shift. If they disregard safety rules simply to get the job done it is a reflection on them. This does not reflect all Jimmy John's. Most Jimmy John's aren't affiliated with one another. Most care about their customers deeply as they are what keeps Jimmy John's going.

The workers were fired because they spoke out against the store and possible the management. The management lashed out and fired them, hoping to quell anymore unwanted attention/demands. This seems a lapse in judgement on many accounts by the management of this particular Jimmy John's.

Johnny
Johnny

The union lost it's organizing vote. Methinks that the NLRB doesn't have much choice to say Sorry Charlie.

Michelle Bachmann
Michelle Bachmann

As a Tea Party Republican I don't understand what the big deal is about sick workers working on my food. Are you trying to tell me its a bad idea to have some stranger coughing and sneezing on your food? Is this some fancy liberal science thing? Unions need to get out of the way of the free market. There is nothing in the Constitution that says workers shouldn't sneeze on people's sandwiches. Everyone knows the only thing that makes you sick is God's will. Any questions you dumb liberals?

Throntron3030
Throntron3030

Its still freaky FAST FOOD, and they wear gloves. I bet MdD's doesnt have paid sick days and I bet that they have the same standard of finding replacements for sick employees. If you are sick and still forced to come to work or threatened by termination, Im sure that there is some moral and ethical concern, but not to be measured by anything else than fast food employment with low standards!

Mark Potter
Mark Potter

JJ and their fat sammies, loaded with germs and filthy stores...ooooooo where do i sign up? LMAO

Mike
Mike

The workers were fired for being union--fired for their concerted activity. The owners are unfit to run a business. They are criminal union-busters.

All workers deserve time off for illness, but workers that handle food need it most of all.

dormir55
dormir55

I've always maintained that the worst, least desirable jobs are the jobs that have the worst, undesirable benefits! Why? I have a wonderful job, with benefits - paid sick leave, don't have to cover my illnesses, and I get vacation after I accrue it AND I'm paid well! Whodda thunk? Good for these workers that are underpaid people, trying to make a living and also try to live their lives!

Porkpie
Porkpie

Carl Johnson is obviously a management stooge. Nothing this piece of crap says should be taken seriously by anyone, ever.

Porkpie
Porkpie

And also, their food is terrible! Tasteless, fibre-less white bread, processed cold-cuts, with the only flavor coming from slathered on mayo and sauces straight out of a can. I can't think of a single reason to patronize this restaurant chain.

bronson
bronson

Regardless of all this drama, Jimmy John's is just a shit place anyway. Obnoxious employees, sub-par food, loud shitty music. Their whole business model is an affront to human dignity. I don't need my local sandwich shop to be all "in my face" with their "rock star" attitude and phony anti-conformist aesthetic. I just want a sandwich. They're the Hot Topic of sandwich shops.

Ljhshorty
Ljhshorty

Oh my Boo hoo, get over it! Half of this society doesn't get sick days. I work in a office environment and I don't get sick days either. Most people at Jimmy Johns don't work a full 8 hours, so when your short work days is done, go HOME and rest. I have no sympathy what-so-ever

Aamasumner
Aamasumner

How dare they? Trying to make the work place a healthy environment and an enjoyable place to work...The unions are what have kept the American worker safe if the employer doesn't realize the importance of GOOD employees, and HEALTHY employees... I'm shocked to hear a person can only be sick if a co-worker can fill in for them...When the American employer figures out treating employees as human beings vs cheap labor, it will become a much healthier work place and employees will actually enjoy their jobs.I stopped at Jimmy Johns once a week, but until I hear this issue has been resolved, I will go to their competitor....Carol

Chris Herz
Chris Herz

Real simple fix: Make your own sandwiches. Put our workers to making photovoltaic collectors, solar water heaters, high-efficiency fuel cells, manufacturing fuel alcohol from hemp waste, building green sewage treatment plants, retro-insulating buildings, building high-speed rail, etc.

D'Andre Fippins
D'Andre Fippins

Wow, fired from a minimum wage teenagers job while you're in your 20s...Time to get a real job, you Hipsters!

Tinoscalici
Tinoscalici

I am a Ford Worker from Kansas City and I have reviewed the "demands" from the Minneapolis Jimmy John's workers. I even passed them around to my friends and they asked, "What's so unreasonable about this?" Paid sick days are common sense, healthful accomodations for entry-level workers. There is nothing over the top about staying home when you are ill. I doubt very seriously the owners work sick. Give these people what they ask and meet these minimum requirements and end the campaign against their legal and just right to bargain collectively.

Crashcourse
Crashcourse

People voicing opinions and offering no facts about employee sick leave should read the sections "benefits to employers" and "benefits to community health" in this wikipedia article - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S...

unionbusterbuster
unionbusterbuster

While I'm not sure that JJ employees deserve paid sick days, as a longtime ex-employee of Caribou Coffee I can sympathize with workers who are frustrated with being unable to get out of work when they are legitimately sick and unfit to work in food service.

Carl Johnson needs to can the babble and start participating in a real discussion if he wants to be taken seriously. Thanks for discrediting your side, Carl. PS: Learn to spell.

Greg
Greg

Regardless of these workers intent to gain paid sick days, they do call attention to a policy that shows a complete lack of respect for the customers and employees that make their business work. In any kitchen I've run, my policy has been that staffing problems are my problems, not the problem of employees. Making someone that does not have access to contact lists of other employees to find a replacement fosters an environment where employees will be reluctant to call in sick. That's not fair to employees or the eating public. It's a bad policy whether it was in place when they were hired or not.

These Jimmy John's owners need to realize their 1st concern should be their customers, not the bottom line. Take reasonable care of your customers and your bottom line will need less care.

Nicole Masika
Nicole Masika

love the Beach Club, but can't swallow anti-union BS, I'll be boycotting JJ

Carl Johnson
Carl Johnson

Paid sick days in a fast food joint? You whiners are all ridiculous, they don't have to work sick, they just ain't gettin' paid to sit at home on they're butts. Those posters ARE wrong, gives people the wrong idea. In fact sick workers are everywhere, but should get sent home paid or not, depending on days used. So quit cryin' and quit expecting to get paid for doing NOTHING!

Gene P. Craig
Gene P. Craig

After this notice I would never eat a Jimmy Johns, and the Health Department should investigate these people who force their workers to come to work sick, possibly spreading sickness and disease to an unsuspecting public.

Richard Miller
Richard Miller

I also give up on Jimmy John's till all fired employees are hired back with lost pay and until workers can have sick days off so me and family can feel safe. Also the sick do not have to find a replacement for them. Management should have employees on call that want to pick up some extra pay.

fellowworker
fellowworker

The NLRB overturned the election results because they found the Mulligans guilty of so many ULPs.

Mark Potter
Mark Potter

right on dorm...you choose where you want to work and if you choose a place without bennies...well either the owner has to change or it's on you to find something better. I'm proud to be a union worker but at least those JJ workers don't have people swinging at them and you wonder if you're going to make it home in one piece some nights, but then again I'm damn good at what I do like you are, and I have the taser LOL

Mark Potter
Mark Potter

...then maybe it's time you talked to your employer....you choose where you want to work and if you choose to work in that type of environment that is on you then my fellow human.

Nobody Special
Nobody Special

They would have already, except their jobs have been outsourced to India.

anon
anon

Didn't you know that you and your fellow unionized American workers are actually un-American? I heard it from those guys in Wisconsin...unions are the instruments of the anti-Christ. Sick days, pshaw! Tax cuts for businesses, yes! All in the name of the worker.

unionbusterbuster
unionbusterbuster

PPS: Carl, you should really stop linking to your FB page if you want to be taken seriously. "Dear Lord, please keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth... Amen." Apparently the Lord's hand slipped for a minute.

Tom Aiken
Tom Aiken

Carl:You might enjoy your sandwiches with a dollop of influenza, but not I. Be sure and order two next time. You can have mine.

Atticus Dogsbody
Atticus Dogsbody

"Paid sick days in a fast food joint?"

So where should paid work days be allowed? Your workplace?

Alphajonny
Alphajonny

I don't blame you. I have worked for many restaurants and the most common rule is "If you don't cover your shift then get in here" Mind you that is with the flu, fever, coughing fits, or anything else you can hate to think of. Sometimes you are just to sick to work but the owners never care because even a sick employee can make a few bucks for the restaurant.

Carl Johnson
Carl Johnson

Paid sick days in a fast food joint? You whiners are all ridiculous, they don't have to work sick, they just ain't gettin' paid to sit at home on they're butts. Those posters ARE wrong, gives people the wrong idea. In fact sick workers are everywhere, but should get sent home paid or not, depending on days used. So quit cryin' and quit expecting to get paid for doing NOTHING! Especially in a fast food joint. Those policies were in place when they took the job, so who's really renigging on their agreement?

Carl Johnson
Carl Johnson

Yeah lets pass the cost on to the customer.... moron. Policy was policy when those employees took the job. Now they're trying to get paid for doing nothing just sitting at home. You obviously don't own you own business...

Rob
Rob

you know what this is stupid.i work for Jimmy Johns and never been fired or disciplined for calling in sick.In fact was feeling under the weather once and they asked if i like to go home.all this hating is BS.Only cause 1 Jimmy John's made an error does not mean it goes on in the whole company.In fact franchises has the options not to use alot of the policies that are on the corporate stores.and the corporate stores do not have a policy about calling in sick.These clowns who hung up the signs were probably unhappy about the hours they got and did that stupid act which yes should get them fired for there idiocy.....the only ones who are really SICK are the fools who buy this story......JIMMY JOHN'S IS THE BEST TO WORK FOR...WINNING

libhomo
libhomo

I sure hope you don't get sick days. If you do, then you are the worst kind of hypocrite.

Deuce
Deuce

I was on the Union campaign until last August, when I moved. The Mulligans pull in over $1.2M in profits per year for their minimal involvement in the store. If they pass the cost on to the customers, it's their own damn fault. And paying one minimum-wage employee for a sick day costs them no more than paying the scheduled minimum-wage employee. Beyond sick pay, employees are not allowed to call in sick without being fired, unless they schedule a replacement beforehand - meaning if you wake up blowing snot, and nobody else on the schedule can work, you have to be there.I worked for Jimmy John's last October with H1N1 (aka 'swine flu' - though it wasn't as bad as everyone on the news made it out to be). I called my boss and said, "I have swine flu. Do you still need me at work?" She responded: "If you're not throwing up, you'd better be here." How's that for passing it on to the consumer, Carl?

Atticus Dogsbody
Atticus Dogsbody

How dare they try to improve thier conditions. This is America, only the rich should have such rights, just ask any teabagger.

libhomo
libhomo

I hope you get fired from your job for no reason.

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