Target: Jimmy John Liautaud, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Jimmy John’s
Goal: Demand that the company take responsibility for the illegal business practices of its franchise locations and ensure all workers’ rights are upheld
Jimmy John’s gourmet sandwich shops have thrived in college towns, appealing to customers looking for fast, inexpensive meals. But according to a recent lawsuit the lengths the company will stoop to in order to ensure low business costs includes “systematic wage theft.” Similar to accusations leveled against restaurants like McDonald’s, the employees involved in the lawsuit claim franchise owners regularly refuse to pay overtime and demand that workers slave away off the clock to keep the corporate office happy.
The company’s questionable practices have also included an aggressive push to prevent unionization and to undermine unions at locations that have managed to successfully organize, according to Common Dreams. Organizers have reported being physically and verbally threatened, and many were unlawfully fired from their jobs after trying to build support for unionization among their co-workers. The workers involved in the current lawsuit, which names both a specific franchisee and the parent company, say “tens of thousands” of past and current Jimmy John’s employees have been affected by wage theft.
A recent court case against McDonald’s holds the company responsible for the labor rights violations of its franchisees, setting a clear precedent that can help improve conditions for other low-wage fast food workers. Call on the CEO of Jimmy John’s to demand franchise owners fully adhere to all labor laws, and end the culture of exploitation that has helped him generate outrageous profits at the expense of workers’ rights.
Dear Mr. Liautaud,
Your customers no doubt want cheap sandwiches, fast; but they also want to know that the employees making their sandwiches are being paid a fair wage. In a recent lawsuit filed against both Jimmy John’s Enterprise and a franchisee workers describe the “systematic wage theft” promoted by your company, potentially affecting tens of thousands of past and current employees.
There is no excuse for demanding that employees work off the clock in order to avoid paying them overtime. Such demands are even more heinous in light of the fact that most Jimmy John’s workers are already paid very low wages. You could simply shrug your shoulders and claim that you have no control over how franchisees run their shops, but the truth is far more sinister.
Think Progress reports that the employees participating in the lawsuit “accuse the company of setting nationwide policies ‘that have caused the failure to pay for all hours worked, minimum wages and overtime wages’ and enforcing those policies through the use of a computer monitoring system and mandatory nightly reports from individual store owners to corporate headquarters.” Pressure from the corporate office has led franchise owners to manipulate workers’ time cards to avoid paying overtime, and this is clearly illegal.
If you want to ensure the ongoing success of your business, you must first ensure that all Jimmy John’s locations adhere to state and federal labor laws. I must insist that you take responsibility for the business practices of your franchisees, and end this systematic abuse.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jimmy John’s Franchise, LLC via Wikimedia Commons