Jimmy John’s Makes Low-Wage Workers Sign ‘Oppressive’ Noncompete Agreements

JIMMY JOHNS

 

Jimmy John’s Makes Low-Wage Workers Sign ‘Oppressive’ Noncompete Agreements.

A Jimmy John’s employment agreement provided to The Huffington Post includes a “non-competition” clause that’s surprising in its breadth. Noncompete agreements are typically reserved for managers or employees who could clearly exploit a business’s inside information by jumping to a competitor. But at Jimmy John’s, the agreement apparently applies to low-wage sandwich makers and delivery drivers, too.

By signing the covenant, the worker agrees not to work at one of the sandwich chain’s competitors for a period of two years following employment at Jimmy John’s. But the company’s definition of a “competitor” goes far beyond the Subways and Potbellys of the world. It encompasses any business that’s near a Jimmy John’s location and that derives a mere 10 percent of its revenue from sandwiches.

From the agreement:

Employee covenants and agrees that, during his or her employment with the Employer and for a period of two (2) years after … he or she will not have any direct or indirect interest in or perform services for … any business which derives more than ten percent (10%) of its revenue from selling submarine, hero-type, deli-style, pita and/or wrapped or rolled sandwiches and which is located with three (3) miles of either [the Jimmy John's location in question] or any such other Jimmy John’s Sandwich Shop.

It isn’t clear what sort of trade secrets a low-wage sandwich artist might be privy to that would warrant such a contract. A Jimmy John’s spokeswoman said the company wouldn’t comment.

The noncompete agreement is now part of a proposed class-action lawsuit filed this summer against Jimmy John’s and one of its franchisees. As HuffPost reported in August, Jimmy John’s workers recently brought two lawsuits accusing the company of engaging in wage theft by forcing employees to work off the clock.

5 Recent Examples of How Bad Silicon Valley Class Warfare Is :: Tech :: Lists :: Paste

5 Recent Examples of How Bad Silicon Valley Class Warfare Is :: Tech :: Lists :: Paste.

5 Recent Examples of How Bad Silicon Valley Class Warfare Is

While its residents toil away finding brilliant ways of disrupting our lives through groundbreaking technological innovations, Silicon Valley has become a place so ridiculous and prone to self-parody that TV shows mocking it are basically documentaries. But while its culture of extreme hubris mixed with extreme nerdiness may be amusing on its own, combined with the massive amounts of money flowing into the region, a decidedly 21st century form of class tension has emerged in the San Francisco Bay Area.

While this is far from a full examination of the complex socioeconomic implications of this trend, here are five particularly egregious examples of recent class warfare in Silicon Valley.

1. “In Downtown San Francisco the Degenerates Gather Like Hyenas”

Greg Gopman runs AngelHack, a startup that offers helpful services to other startups like hackathon planning, recruiting, and community management. Unfortunately, he’s not nearly as charitable towards those whose problems can’t be solved with clever coding. Here’s a fun game to play while reading these quotesfrom his Facebook page: modern day actual human being or cartoon 19th century Charles Dickens villain?

“In other cosmopolitan cities, the lower parts of society keep to themselves. They sell small trinkets, beg coyly, stay quiet, and generally stay out of your way. They realize it’s a privilege to be in the civilized part of town and view themselves as guests.”

“In downtown SF the degenerates gather like hyenas, spit, urinate, taunt you, sell drugs, get rowdy, they act like they own the center of the city, like it’s their place of leisure.”

“I’ve traveled around the world and I gotta say there is nothing more grotesque than walking down Market Street in San Francisco. Why the heart of our city has to be overrun by crazy, homeless, drug dealers, dropouts, and trash I have no clue. Each time I pass it my love affair with SF dies a little.”

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He would later go on to apologize in the Facebook post above, but his Facebook friends didn’t seem to have a problem with the distasteful things he said.

2. The Great Google Bus Hoax

With housing near Silicon Valley itself become ever scarcer, many of its employees live in towns up to 40 miles away. So companies like Google began deploying private shuttles to ferry their workers to and from their offices. However, these buses soon became the automobile embodiment of Silicon Valley’s poisonous influence on nearby communities whether it’s obnoxious private use of public services like bus stops, gentrification like skyrocketing rent costs in areas near the stops, or the idea that Google could make the whole thing just go away by throwing some money towards transit for low-income children.

But the whole episode reached a new level of insanity late last year when protesters actually hired an actor to pretend to be a Google employee saying things so horrible they were literally unbelievable, “This is a city for the right people who can afford it. You can’t afford it? You can leave. I’m sorry, get a better job.” And even though protesters later clarified that this was merely an act of “political theater,” the surprisingly large number of people actually fooled by the hoax demonstrates how the fact of Silicon Valley class warfare is now stranger than any fiction.

3. Six Californias

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As the continued struggles of Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico have shown us, adding just one more star to the United States flag is pretty tough. But if tech investor Tim Draper had his way we’d be adding five with his “Six Californias” plan. The logic goes like this: California is a huge, densely populated state with lots of disparate groups of people that can’t be effectively served by a single state government. So let’s split it up into six smaller states that can better handle more local issues and concerns.

Sounds reasonable enough, but then start looking at the specifics of the plan. These six new hypothetical Californias would include Jefferson, North California, Central California, West California, South California, and of course, Silicon Valley. Setting aside just how dystopian the idea of Silicon Valley as an actual state with its own license plates and technocratic government would be, the separation would also siphon wealth, political power, and precious resources like water away from poorer areas. Fortunately, the initiative failed to qualify as a 2016 ballot measure, so would-be residents of the great state of Silicon Valley will have to wait to realize their dream of finally freeing themselves from the burden that is the rest of the country.

4. SketchFactor

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One of the great successes of modern society, at least here in America, is that we’ve made outright racism mostly unacceptable. If someone were to say something as blatantly awful as “I don’t want to walk through that neighborhood. There are too many black people,” most would agree that’s pretty uncool.

Unfortunately, nowadays it’s as easy as switching to a simple code word to share one’s fear and distaste for “the others.” And there’s even an app for it. SketchFactor uses crowdsourced user data to rank how “sketchy” certain neighborhoods are and determine whether or not to avoid them. However, many worry that by depending on information as reliable as the gut feelings of anonymous Silicon Valley dwellers predominantly minority and lower-income communities will be disproportionately, negatively affected by digital white flight. But don’t take our word for it, download the app yourself and try to spot the institutional racism in action.

5. Tinder Minus Poor People

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And finally, continuing the theme of removing inherently inferior people out of one’s life from the comfort of a smartphone screen comes LUXY, self-described as “Tinder minus the poor people.” It’s understandable that people are drawn to those similar to them, and a person’s wealth can definitely make them more or less attractive. But nothing better sums up Silicon Valley’s current mantra of “technology as a tool for class stratification” than an app that strategically plucks out less affluent users looking for love so rich people can get together and have lots of rich babies that dominate the world.

From the LUXY press release: “Who doesn’t want to date somebody both attractive and wealthy? Privately, we all know we prefer to have both of these things. One user said: ‘Tinder was pretty awesome when it came out, but there’s a lot of riff raff on there. I would rather know the guy has a couple bucks in his pocket.’ With the rise of high-speed digital dating, it’s about time somebody introduced a filter to weed out low-income prospects by neighborhood.”

Riff raff.

 

Lexicon Of Sustainability – The Food List: Food Security

via Lexicon Of Sustainability – The Food List: Food Security

The conventional definition of food security is one based on calories, on having access to the affordable and healthy food necessary to keep oneself alive.  When people talk about the food challenges facing low-income urban communities, areas without supermarkets or neighborhood corner grocery stores, where nutritious food is scarce or nonexistent, they often use the term food desert. It’s a colorful, descriptive term. It’s also inaccurate. Food deserts are just as likely to exist in rural areas as in cities; anyone driving cross-country knows that. Our centralized food system is partially responsible for these geographic gaps. Their omissions are less the result of careless oversight and more the outcome of judiciously considered design; either these areas aren’t profitable enough or they are too dangerous or inconsequential to worry about. Urban communities are now using a variety of tools to strengthen their local food systems, including growing food in urban gardens and putting a new twist on corner store.

THIS WEEK’S TERMS

FOOD ACCESS

“Food access is determined by a variety of factors. The income of people experiencing hunger, the racial or cultural background of certain populations, and the distance between people and food markets. [To counter this], people have developed approaches to promote neighborhood-based food retail outlets or community gardens in disadvantaged communities, and public education campaigns to highlight such inequities as the prevalence of low-quality corner and convenience stores in underserved communities.”—Wayne Roberts, former director of Toronto’s Food Policy Council

FOOD DESERT

An area where residents lack access to affordable fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low fat milk, legumes and other foods that constitute a healthy diet. Grocery stores are either inaccessible to these shoppers due to high prices or inadequate public transit or both.

CORNER STORES

A new twist on the corner store provides healthier and more economical food choices for consumers living in urban communities instead of only selling items like processed food, tobacco, and alcohol.

Money as a social construction

 

via Sociological Images – Money as a social construction.

We all know that, on some basic level, money is purely symbolic.  It only works because everyone collectively agrees to participate in the fantasy that a dollar bill is worth a dollar, whatever that is.  Moreover, most of our money these days is purely electronic, represented by ones and zeros and real only in the most abstract sense possible.

Christopher Ingraham at the Washington Post offered another way of thinking about money as a social construction: how much it costs to make it.  None of our coins are actually worth what they cost, and pennies and nickels are worth quite a bit less.

The excess cost of producing pennies and nickels means a budget deficit for the Treasury. In 2013, producing the coins cost the government $105 million dollars above and beyond the coins’ value.

Interestingly, moves to eliminate pennies have been successfully opposed by the zinc industry for years, illustrating another sociological phenomenon: the power of corporations to shape government decisions.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions, with Myra Marx Ferree. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

For more relevant discussion about the worth of our money, watch the documentary The End of the Road. (available streaming online or at the local library, if your library rocks like mine does).

 

Tipping perpetuates racism, classism, and poverty — let’s get rid of it! – Vox

The way we tip reflects our prejudices, argues Freakonomics’ Stephen Dubner. Here’s what he told Brian Lehrer: “The data show very clearly that African Americans receive less in tips than whites, and so there is a legal argument to be made that as a protected class, African American servers are getting less for doing the same work. And therefore, the institution of tipping is inherently unfair.”

But not only are black servers making less money than white servers — black diners are perceived to be leaving less money than white diners. Data collected in 2009 from over 1,000 servers all across the US “found that over sixty-five percent [of servers] rated African Americans as below average tippers.” As a result, restaurant workers of all colors dislike waiting on black customers, studies found. The economy of tipping is so racially charged that both servers and diners are affected by prejudice.

Racism isn’t the only kind of discrimination baked into the American tipping system. Female servers, too, face routine discrimination. As Lynn told Dubner: blonde, slender, larger-breasted women in their 30s earn some of the highest tips. Granted, the decision of how large a tip to leave is up to the subjective whims of the tipper, and different people have their own aesthetic preferences. But when a server’s main source of income is her tips, and if those tips are regulated by the prejudices of the tippers, then a case could potentially be made that certain wage practices of restaurants are discriminatory.

This is the very case Kamer made (emphasis mine): “In 1971’s Griggs v. Duke Power, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was ruled to prohibit businesses with discriminatory practices against those protected under it, even if that effect is unintended. Tipping, which has been proven to be discriminatory, could be downright unconstitutional.”

via Tipping perpetuates racism, classism, and poverty — let’s get rid of it! – Vox.

John Oliver on Income Inequality & The Wealth Gap

John Oliver nails it here. He starts off with clips of Obama saying that income inequality will be a top priority and showing how quickly that topic was pushed under the rug thanks to all the rich bastards who cried out that this was the start of class warfare. So, nope… we don’t get to have a political discussion about income inequality (because hello, wealthy oligarchy). We just have to suck it up and keep falling for the boot strap myth.

Oliver also covers how ,even despite the odds and logic, Americans are led to believe that they can all be “winners” simply because they’re American and everyone has a chance at The American Dream,right?