NLRB nullifies Jimmy John's union vote results

Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:15pm EST

* NLRB nullifies results from Jimmy John's union vote

* Workers narrowly rejected unionization in October

LOS ANGELES Jan 11 (Reuters) - A settlement between the National Labor Relations Board and the owners of Jimmy John's sandwich shops in Minneapolis has set aside a recent election in which workers narrowly rejected joining a union.

Workers at 10 Jimmy John's restaurants in the area voted 87 to 85 on Oct. 22 against becoming members of the Industrial Workers of the World, a union that has sought with limited success to unionize Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O) stores.

Had the workers voted to join the union, it could have set a precedent in an industry that has managed to shut out organized labor.

Union members alleged Jimmy John's franchise owners Mike and Rob Mulligan used unfair labor practices to sabotage the vote. The NLRB said in a statement that an investigation found sufficient evidence to issue a complaint, absent a settlement.

Union members now hope to sit down with the Mulligans to negotiate such issues as pay, scheduling, sick days, workplace safety and affordable health care.

The decision from the NLRB cleared the way for a new election, an avenue union supporters vowed to pursue if the Mulligans refuse negotiations, representatives for the Jimmy John's Workers Union said on Tuesday.

"We're hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. We are more confident than ever that, in the end, we will win, setting an example for 3.5 million fast food workers to follow," union member Ayo Collins said.

Food preparation and service jobs are among the fastest-growing occupations in the United States, but they typically offer part-time hours, limited or no benefits and pay roughly on par with minimum wage. Employee turnover is high and many fast-food workers are teenagers and young adults. (Reporting by Lisa Baertlein; editing by Andre Grenon)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.