Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches are known to be “freaky fast” and are a favorite meal for the on-the-go consumer wanting to eat something a little healthier than standard fast food fare. But a recent campaign started by workers at a restaurant in Minnesota has brought to light Jimmy John’s corporate practices that are cause for concern. It seems that Jimmy John’s doesn’t give its employees sick days, so if an employee falls ill, they must report to work sick and make sandwiches or risk losing their jobs. Suddenly, that healthy alternative is anything but.
The campaign to highlight Jimmy John’s policies actually began three years ago, which prompted the firing of six employees who posted a flier detailing the fact that employees could be sick while making sandwiches and therefore spreading their germs to customers. The six employees filed a suit in 2012 against Jimmy John’s for the firing, and last week, as reported by Business Week, the National Labor Review Board reviewed the case against the corporation and found for the wronged employees and has ordered the fired employees to be reinstated to their jobs.
Now, those employees, along with the Industrial Workers of the World, a workers union, are waging a coast-to-coast campaign highlighting the conditions at the sandwich maker and are pushing for changes to Jimmy John’s policies. According to the Twin Cities Daily Planet, Erik Forman, the head of the IWOW, spoke out against the sandwich maker and highlighted the goal of the campaign.
“Jimmy John’s thought that they could silence us by firing six core members of our organizing effort. They were wrong. Starting on Labor Day, union supporters will be putting up copies of the poster Jimmy John’s fired us for publicizing in cities all across the United States, and sharing photos of the posters on social media. We have simple demands: give workers paid sick days, and comply with the NLRB’s order to reinstate the six of us who spoke out with the truth.”
Jimmy John’s, through the president of MikLin Enterprises, Mike Mulligan, the franchisee in question here, argued that the employees “clearly intend to harm [the company] and the security of the 240 local jobs we provide.” The NLRB found otherwise, stating that the employees were not reckless in their actions as the policy they highlighted in their campaign is fact. Jimmy John’s does not give employees sick days, and ill employees could very well be making sandwiches, which is almost as dangerous as this situation taken from a recent Jimmy John’s commercial.
Jimmy John’s was named in an earlier story on The Inquisitr when an foodborne illness linked to bad bean sprouts in the Washington State area, but those illnesses were not attributed to sick employees. There is no word on what the next step in this ongoing battle, but Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches has over 1,900 locations across the United States, mostly in college towns and fast-paced urban settings. Any amount of negative publicity that details unsafe working conditions that results in food that is eaten must be taken seriously. Does this news change the way you look at Jimmy John’s Sandwiches? Does “freaky fast” matter more than safe and disease free?
[Image courtesy of the National Labor Review Board]