Federal labor board finds sandwich maker illegally threatened and fired employees backing union
The National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint Wednesday finding that Twin Cities Jimmy John’s owned by MikLin Enterprises unlawfully threatened, disciplined and terminated workers for engaging in union activities. The complaint about the sandwich shop stems from a March incident where six supporters of the International Workers of the World (IWW) were fired after protesting the company’s lack of paid sick leave.
Among the findings against Jimmy John’s in the complaint: “Disparaging and threatening pro-union employees on Facebook, removing union postings from stores, interrogating employees about their union activities, and threatening mass firings for union organizing.”
Micah Buckley-Farlee of the Twin Cities branch of the IWW is one of the six fired workers.
“We’re looking forward to continue fighting for paid sick days, which is the starting point that led to the whole thing they fired us for,” Buckley-Farlee told the Minnesota Independent. “So I’m looking forward to getting back to my job and organizing around paid sick days.”
Unless there is a settlement between the company and the union, an administrative judge will hear the case in mid-January 2012.
Union supporters said they’re willing to consider a settlement if Jimmy John’s reinstates workers and pays back pay. The Minneapolis franchises, which are owned by MikLin Enterprises and headed by Michael Mulligan, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office, haven’t returned a request for comment (this post will be updated if we find out more).
This isn’t the company’s first brush with labor law violations. In January 2011, the National Labor Relations Board overturned the previous union election, which the union lost by two votes, due to unfair labor practices by the company. At the time, the company and union reached an agreement that Jimmy John’s would not take action against workers supporting the union.
Buckley-Farlee said the union is keeping the possibility of an election on the table, but that the union is currently more dedicated to grassroots organizing.