St. Paul, Minnesota: Last winter, workers for a local Jimmy John’s franchise discovered through a union survey of employees that on any given day, approximately two workers in the ten-store franchise are making sandwiches while sick. For two months they tried to work with franchise owners with no success. So employees took their message public, distributing flyers and “quarantining” one of the stores.
The franchise owner made the bold claim — quickly proven false – that no one had ever gotten sick from one of their franchise’s sandwiches. They fired six workers and disciplined others.
Last week the National Labor Relations Board sided with the workers. They cited local franchise owners for “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.”
Erik Forman, one of the fired workers, issued this statement after the ruling: “Seven months ago Jimmy John’s fired six of us for telling the public that because our employer disciplines and fires workers for calling in sick, and because our poverty wages prevent us from taking a day off without pay, customers are exposed to sandwiches made by sick workers almost every day at Jimmy John’s. We are demanding paid sick days for all restaurant workers to end this public health crisis.”