Workers report widespread illegal activity by company
MINNEAPOLIS – Workers at 10 Jimmy John’s franchise locations in Minneapolis are crying foul after a near tie in a union certification election marred by misconduct by owner MikLin enterprises. 85 workers voted in favor of unionization and 87 against, with two unknown contested ballots. Under the National Labor Relations Act, a tie goes to the employer.
Workers reported strong evidence of several violations of the National Labor Relations Act on and before election day, including attempted bribes of workers, management asking workers to wear anti-union pins, threats of mass firings, and anti-union firings. MikLin Enterprises currently stands charged with 22 alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act.
“We are extremely disappointed with the company’s conduct in this matter; rather than simply letting us vote, management chose to break the law repeatedly during the last six weeks. They spent over $84,500 on a vicious anti-union smear campaign, that’s over $1000 per “no” vote. We do not recognize these election results as legitimate and will continue to fight for our demands,” said Erik Forman, a worker at Jimmy John’s and a union member.
Ayo Collins, a delivery driver, says the union “hasn’t put all their eggs in one basket” and has multiple avenues of action still open to them. He says the union is considering taking legal action against the company over their misconduct in the runup to the election.
“In a company with turnover approaching 50% each month, a majority at any given moment only means so much. We have a mandate- more than 85 of us are committed to continuing the fight for decent wages, consistent scheduling, sick days, and the basic respect and dignity that all workers deserve. This is just the beginning of the fight,” said Collins.
The Jimmy Johns Workers Union, open to employees at the company nationwide, is the first fast food union in the nation, and is affiliated with the Industrial Workers of the World labor union. Gaining prominence in recent years for organizing Starbucks workers, the IWW is a global union founded over a century ago for all working people.