Baltimore Jimmy John’s Workers Stop Work, March on Boss

August 22nd, 2014


BALTIMORE, MD- This morning, Jimmy John’s workers at Pratt Street engaged in a short work stoppage and marched on the boss to demand the right to organize without retaliation. They gathered in front of the store at approximately 10:30 AM. Workers and supporters made speeches outside of the store. The workers told stories of their working conditions and retaliation for organizing.

Earlier this month, workers at Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches at 401 W. Pratt Street in Baltimore announced that they had formed a union affiliated with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). They demanded wage parity with their landlord hotel The Hilton and union recognition. The IWW has already taken action to support Jimmy John’s workers’ right to organize. The bosses have definitely felt the impact of this action and the workers greatly appreciated the action. The bosses continue to be intransigent and hostile towards the efforts of the workers. Such an example occurred the day after workers announced their union membership when management wrote up every worker in the store for uniform violations, showing a new strictness that is clearly retaliatory towards the union. The bosses have shown their opposition to the workers’ demands.

The Jimmy John’s Workers Union announced more demands today on Baltimore franchise owner Mike Gillett. These new demands include guaranteed hours, paid sick days, and demands around driver safety and compensation. Additionally, workers at Pratt Street announced the filing of Unfair Labor Practices (ULPs) against the company for retaliating against union activity.

In the city of Baltimore, where the low wage service sector has grown rapidly, campaigns such as the one underway at Jimmy Johns have massive potential. Labor’s share of income has been rapidly stolen from working people at the same time that the low wage service sector has been pulling in record profits. New efforts to bring justice to this sector is becoming more and more necessary in light of the gross inequalities and stunting poverty present the city and across the country. The task at hand is an urgent one, and the IWW is taking up exactly this.

The campaign in Baltimore is the second franchise in the company to go public as the Jimmy Johns Workers Union, the first being Minneapolis in 2010. Open to employees at the company nationwide, the Jimmy Johns 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.