Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Jimmy John’s franchise fires union workers after sick-day campaign


The owners of 10 Minnesota Jimmy John’s sandwich shops — where a rare unionization vote was narrowly rejected last year – have fired six union organizers.

sickdayposter[1]The terminated workers are members of the Industrial Workers of the World, a formerly high-profile union better known as the Wobblies, and said they were fired after they put up 3,000 posters (shown here) around Minneapolis as part of a campaign to win paid sick days.

Michael Mulligan, president of MikLin Enterprises Inc, which operates the affected Jimmy John’s restaurants, told Reuters that the terminated union workers “crossed well over the line of protected activity” with their latest appeal.

“The posters dishonestly state that Jimmy John’s workers are forced to work while sick and suggest that the health of customers is at risk when eating at our restaurants,” said Mulligan, who characterized the IWW as anti-capitalist, anarchist and socialist.

Food safety worries? Join the club


peanutcorpAre you worried about the rash of high-profile and often deadly tainted-food scandals involving everything from peanut butter and chili peppers to spinach and baby formula?

You are not alone.

“When I heard peanut products were being contaminated earlier this year, I immediately thought of my 7-year-old daughter, Sasha, who has peanut butter sandwiches for lunch probably three times a week,” U.S. President Barack Obama said recently, referring to a salmonella outbreak that has made 683 people in 46 states sick, killed as many as nine and forced the recall of more than 3,000 products. 

Tomatoes got you scared? Check out these Web sites


Food safety officials in the United States are still searching for the cause of a Salmonella outbreak that has sickened 167 people in 17 states and is believed to be linked to raw round, plum and Roma tomatoes. 

If you want to see whether your state has reported a case, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a site that shows the state-by-state breakdown.

Food recalls worry shoppers


tomato.jpgShoppers loading up their carts may be becoming more wary of the food they pick up from the shelves, according to a food safety survey by Deloitte Consulting LLP.
The survey, which polled 1,110 consumers across America on April 21, found that 57 percent of people stopped eating a type of food either permanently or temporarily because of a food recall. 
The poll also found a sharp contrast in consumer perceptions of imported food versus domestic food, with 56 percent reporting that they think imported food is “not at all” or “somewhat” safe. Eighty percent said they think food produced domestically is safe.
Meat recalls ranked as a top food safety concern. Seventy-eight percent of consumers were concerned about beef recalls, while 67 percent were worried about chicken recalls.
Dairy recalls and fresh fruit/vegetable recalls followed at 53 percent each.
The results were released as restaurants and retailers began to pull certain types of tomatoes from their menus and shelves after a salmonella scare that has resulted in 145 reported cases and 23 hospitalizations, the U.S. Food and Drug administration said as of Saturday. The largest recall ever of meat in the U.S. occurred in February, mainly involving beef products.
Survey respondents also overwhelmingly (89 percent) said they want to see stores sell more fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms, and 69 percent said they were willing to pay slightly more as a result.
Full survey results can be found here.

(Phot: Reuters)