The Jimmy John’s sub franchise on Madison’s State Street was picketed Saturday by members of the Industrial Workers of the World. John Peck, an economics professor at Madison College, said fast food workers have grievances. “You cannot sustain a family on the wages from Jimmy John,” Peck said. “You’d live in poverty.” Peck said a new Jimmy John’s union wants a pay increase to above minimum wage, consistent scheduling and minimum shift lengths, regularly scheduled breaks, sick days, workers compensation for job-related injuries, an end to sexual harassment at work, and basic fairness on the job. Nationwide, fewer than two percent of fast food workers are unionized.
Asked whether minimum wage, part time jobs aren’t an essential ingredient for successful fast food franchises, Peck countered that some chains, albeit smaller ones, do a better job by their employees. “There are fast food providers in Madison that do a good job with their workers,” citing a pizzeria that provides employees vacation time, health benefits and higher wages.