Not that we spent a lot of time just sitting around yesterday but did you know that the letters in “mediation” can be rearranged to spell “a.m. edition” “I’m on a diet” “No idea Tim” and “I do, tie man” ?

May 2, 2012 by

Whew, what a long day!


As reported earlier on this site, the Guild entered court-mandated mediation yesterday to explore the possibility of reaching an understanding with Lee Enterprises regarding our lawsuits (blue and yellow contract retirees) regarding lifetime medical coverage.  The judge, hoping that something might be resolved, ordered the parties to participate.  He did not, however, order that both sides reach an agreement and, in fact, we did not.


You should know that your union entered the mediation process hopeful.  We had held extensive talks with our Executive Committee, our actuary and our attorney regarding the financial value of a decision in our favor and genuinely attempted to settle all differences based on that value.  Our reasoning was based on our concerns regarding the company’s long-term financial stability and the fact that the cost of medical coverage is so burdensome for our retirees – and the process so slow – we were of a mind to try to get some relief for our people right now.  We were willing to compromise; we did not demand 100 cents on the dollar.  We let Lee’s attorneys know our position – we explained it thoroughly and we were straightforward and candid in what we presented.  And, while we were told that they appreciated our honesty and our position, Lee was only willing to settle the suits for what amounted to just pennies on the dollar.  So chalk up another long and uneventful day in our ongoing battle  to get justice for our Post-Dispatch blue contract and yellow contract retirees.  However, things will soon start moving quickly.  (Blue) interrogatories are complete, (blue) depositions occur the week after next and we will be in trial (for the blue case) this summer.


As always, we will keep you in the loop and report on events as occur.  Stay strong!

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Let’s do lunch!

May 1, 2012 by

You know, we’re starting to see more and more of these types of rulings from the NLRB since Obama made those recess appointments.  Let’s hope it keeps up!

From Open Forum…


The firing of six minimum wage workers is costing a sandwich shop local franchisee hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A National Labor Relations Board judge has ruled that six workers who protested the company sick policy–and who were fired more than a year ago–should get their jobs back within 14 days. The judge has also said that the workers should receive back pay, which totals about $10,000 apiece.

A franchise of the Jimmy John’s sandwich shop fired the workers after they papered part of the local Minneapolis-St. Paul area with posters claiming the restaurant’s customers were at risk of illness because of a policy that required workers to find their own replacements before taking a sick day. The workers also had been active in efforts to unionize 10 local Jimmy John’s franchises.

The posters featured pictures of two sandwiches. The text read: “Can’t tell the difference? That’s too bad because Jimmy John’s workers don’t get paid sick days… We hope your immune system is ready, because you are about to take the sandwich test.”

Judge Arthur Amchan ruled that the local franchisee–a company called MikLin Enterprises Inc. that owns 10 shops–had violated the union organizing rights of the employees by firing them.

Erik Forman, one of the workers who lost his job, told the Minnesota Daily: “It’s a big victory. It’s not unexpected for us—we’ve known for a long time that our posters and our right to speak out about health and safety issues are legally protected.”

He added: “But we’re glad to see that we’re one step closer to getting back to work and exercise our right to organize.”

MikLin Enterprises, owned by Mike Mulligan and his son Rob Mulligan, said in an e-mailed statement that they “respectfully disagree with the [judge’s] findings… and we will decide our next steps shortly.”

In a March 2011 letter to Rob Mulligan, workers called the policy a risk to public safety because it created an incentive for them to work while ill.

MikLin Enterprises said in a statement that its policy is fair and typical of the fast food industry and said it was “patently false” that workers were required to work when sick. Forman said that at minimum wage or just above it, none of the workers could afford to take a day off.

MikLin also noted that the workers had been fired for a “malicious” effort to ruin Jimmy John’s–though Amchan ruled the posters were protected speech under the National Labor Relations Act.

If MikLin appeals, the case could take another year or two to settle. The workers would not have to be rehired until then.

“It’s pretty frustrating,” Forman told the Star-Tribune.

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