A Jimmy John's Workers Union-IWW campaign has gone public in Baltimore, Maryland.
BALTIMORE, MD - Workers at Jimmy Johns have announced their membership in the IWW Jimmy John's Workers Union and have asked management to recognize their union and negotiate. This decision was prompted by the actions of Mike Gillett and Danny Dolch, owners of the Jimmy Johns franchise, who have targeted workers for their desire to have a more fair workplace.
Workers and supporters leafleted the Pratt Street location and presented demands this morning, declaring their membership in the IWW Jimmy Johns Workers Union.
The demands of the IWW Jimmy Johns Workers Union include union recognition and wage parity with their landlord hotel, the Hilton. Wage parity would bring Driver's wages to $10.75 an hour, In-shop wages to $11.34 an hour, and Persons In Charge wages to $12.34 an hour. They are also demanding that wage parity with the Hilton be maintained.
"We're not people to this company," says Jimmy John's worker and IWW member Isaac Dalto. "we're labor costs. We need a union to secure fair pay, guaranteed hours, and paid sick days, because those things are basic human rights. We will not be taken advantage of, and we'll keep fighting for as long as it takes."
"The owners think of us as machines. And that's exactly how they treat us - as machines that turn bread and lettuce into money for them," said Pratt Street driver and IWW member Brendan Camiel, "So it shouldn't surprise us that they don't think we need wages we can live on, or even basic respect. Why should they care about the money & time we spend maintaining our bikes & our bodies for them, or or the emotional & physical toll our working conditions take on us? We, the Jimmy John's Workers Union, will force them to care."
The Baltimore fast food workers' move to unionize is emblematic of mounting insurgency among fast food and other low wage workers in the US. In the city of Baltimore, where longtime large employers have closed up shop or have moved shop for cheaper labor, the food service industry is becoming a larger and larger share of total employment. Employment in the food service industry is only expected to grow.
The campaign in Baltimore is the second franchise in the company to go public as the Jimmy Johns Workers Union, the first being in Minneapolis in 2010. Open to employees at the company nationwide, the Jimmy John's Workers Union is affiliated with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) 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.