Skip to content

Grand Rapids IWW mobilizes on behalf of member who was fired at Jimmy John’s

July 11, 2011

A member of the Grand Rapids branch of the IWW was fired on Friday when he came into the 648 Monroe Street location of Jimmy John’s.

Matthew Bair says he was fired for alleged customer complaints. When Bair asked to see any formal complaints the Jimmy John’s manager refused to show him anything. Bair stated that he had great customer service and would often get good tips from customers during his shift.

Bair and other local IWW members believe he was fired because of his involvement with the IWW, which has been engaged in an organizing campaign with wage – workers in the fast food company.

On Sunday, the IWW organized a phone zap to have as many people as possible call Jimmy John’s and put pressure on them to reinstate Matthew Bair.

Today, several IWW members, including Bair, went to the 648 Monroe Street location to hand out flyers and to put Jimmy John’s employees and customers know that this firing is unacceptable and unjust. Many customers look flyers and listened to Bair who asked them to go inside, talk to the manager and ask that he be reinstated.

At one point IWW members went in the store to hand out flyers to customers sitting down, but also to attempt to engage the workers on what had happened. Most workers would not respond, but those that did were defensive and uncomfortable with the presence of their now fired fellow worker.

We spoke with both Matthew Bair and fellow IWW member Cole Dorsey who were at the Jimmy John’s store today in an attempt to get Bair’s job back. Bair talked about what happened and Dorsey spoke about the IWW response.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. July 12, 2011 1:06 am

    GIVE HIM HIS JOB BACK!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Steven Ware permalink
    July 12, 2011 3:32 am

    This was just wrong. My name is Steven Ware and I am a proud member of the I.W.W. in Los Angeles. No fear.

  3. Jef permalink
    July 12, 2011 4:36 am

    From a customer’s perspective: I’m a regular.
    I heard Matt Bair was fired for multiple reasons, including but not limited to:
    • Inappropriate behavior towards customers on delivery, which he was notified in writing on a write-up which he signed and dated acknowledging his misconduct ( Road Rage ) and assuming all responsibility in writing for breaking Jimmy Johns rules of delivery conduct which he signed and agreed to on his hiring paperwork on his first day.
    • Insubordination after continuous warnings ( several I personally witnessed ). Verbal and written from multiple employees and customers.
    • Not fulfilling and refusing to do his job responsibilities, again which were clearly stated on initial hiring paper-work which he also signed and dated saying he would fulfill them. Several times he took over an hour to deliver a delivery, that should take about 10 minutes round trip, with no explanation. ( i sit in the restaurant and work on client work and witness a lot of this jimmy johns activity including many of matts actions I witnessed one of these hour long deliveries. ) 1 hour is not freaky fast. Freaky fastness is obviously a requirement to work at jimmy johns. That’s why we love them.
    I heard they also discovered that he lied on his application and interview about his job history leaving several of his previous employers out including IWW. So JJ didn’t even know he was affiliated with any sort of Union Group in the first place meaning this whole campaign is based on a lie. It would also appear that Matt Bair set himself up as a spy in this situation to create a big publicity stunt.
    I am a regular to this Jimmy Johns and witnessed Matt’s “progression”, if you can even call it that, over the past few months. I was also there the day he came in with his “activists” inside jimmy johns, which is why i am writing this.
    He and his peons harassed and solicited customers and employees (including myself) , loitered, littered their propaganda paper lies ( with many typos ) all over the restaurant, created a fire hazard by blocking the entrances, disturbed the peace ( especially my own, I had a deadline that day ), disrupted the natural flow of business, and were just generally douchebags being typical non-thinking ignorant sheeple. Matt some how stole the owner’s phone number and plastered it all over the flyers, and the internet ( obviously here ) telling people to call him and demand ridiculous things that no reasonable person ( yes that means you, reader) would agree with if they knew the truth ( I’m sure I don’t even know the whole story which probably has even more discrepancies on matts part) Not to mention, Tom had nothing to do with this termination. Don’t call him.

    Matt should grow up and stop being a baby. He wasn’t good at his job and he wasn’t interested in trying to get better. He could’ve been looking for another job instead of picketing wasting a lot of peoples time and making a lot of people angry.
    It clearly states in his facebook profile that he has had a job as an “Organizer for IWW since 2009″ ( and many other union groups ) which really makes IWW look bad and lose a lot of credibility if this whole thing is a radical publicity stunt that was poorly and illegally executed.

  4. patrick vancamp permalink
    July 12, 2011 2:19 pm

    devoted republican, Michigan

    In response to jeffs july 12th post,

    honestly I could care less about a jimmie johns that is 80 miles away but I have visited several resturaunts in my life anb I think I have seen maybe 3 to 5 employees actuyally be reprimanded in front of customers, as it is considered extremely unprofessional, which leads me to believe that you are a lying wind bag or jimmie johns has a real management problem. For even a “regular” to have this much insight on the going ons of a fastfood resturaunt seems slightly creepy. Perhaps the accusation of loitering is a guilty consience. YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY A MEMBER OF THE JIMMIE JOHNS “FAMILY” AND TO LIE ABOUT IT TO TRY TO CLOUD THE ISSUES IS RIDICULOUSLY CHILDISH BUT THANKS FOR WASTING ALL OF OUR TIME WITH YOUR SOCIALIST ANTICS!!!!!

  5. patrick vancamp permalink
    July 12, 2011 2:44 pm

    Sorry about spelling and grammer in my previous post but my frustration seems to have gotten the best of me!! Jefs post is a clear implication that he thinks we are all blind idiots and cannot see through his foolish post. The structure and terminology of his post are implicative of managerial skills that have been fed to him by perhaps a sandwich chain or something of that nature. Again, thanks for wasting your time and mine with this flagrent act of disception.

  6. July 13, 2011 6:43 am

    Thanks cuz.

  7. July 13, 2011 6:44 am

    Solidarity Steven.

  8. July 13, 2011 6:45 am

    Pat you are awesome.

  9. July 13, 2011 6:50 am

    And Jef, you are misinformed and dishonest about your true identity.

  10. July 13, 2011 9:03 am

    Jef you sure this is not Tom or a manager?  

    By M. Bair

    At first I thought Jef’s letter was so poor I was not going to respond to it. The prevalence of so much misinformation really should make someone question its validity. I will not engage “Jef” in name-calling, such acts only deter from the point.  Nor do I think it is productive to address hearsay, especially as outlandish as “over an hour deliveries”.  Thirdly, it is disturbing that this person is not willing to be forthright with who he is.  If management is pretending to be a customer which clearly seems to be the case, that is revealing of their character. Along with the thought that they are willing to get on here and lie.  

    I will only state the facts.  

    A month and half ago the manager wrote me up for a driver (not a customer) on the road calling and complaining after he followed me in his car and assaulted me on a delivery.  It was a horrifying experience, which many hard working Jimmy Johns drivers have to withstand.  I make it habit to not make excuses and take responsibility for my actions. This incident was nothing of my fault.  Originally I signed it under the insinuation that it was part of my job and if not to follow instructions I would be fired.  Additionally, this was never brought up for the reason I was terminated.       

    I received no warnings about fulfilling job responsibilities or customer complaints, written or verbal from management or customers.  Almost unanimously I receive high tips and praise from customers.  As being schooled in management and employment relations, I would recognize corrective or disciplinary action of any sort if it were clear.  

    I did not go into this specific job to organize it.  I want all workplaces to be democratic with no boss.  After many applications submitted, Jimmy Johns hired me.  I am not employed by any union.  IWW does not employ people.  Nor did I lie on my resume.  Need I not say it is insulting for a place to demand how people present themselves but it is illegal for a company to require you to reveal your affiliation with any union. It is a personal insult that a person would reduce my termination to a “publicity stunt”.  

    This is a typical anti-union argument and frankly warn out- that union supporters do not work hard and are under qualified.  A person would be misguided to not follow instructions at a Jimmy Johns because they are a dictatorship, not a democracy.

    It is illegal to fire someone for their organizing activity. It is very common for employers to try to scare, threaten and penalize union supporters. Attempting to distract people from the real issue, unhealthy working conditions of their business, is a typical management maneuver.

    The facts are that I was told I was being terminated for customer complaints. I neither received nor was told about any complaints. I was fired for union organizing.
    Though, this is not only about me but also all the hard working young adults Jimmy John’s takes advantage of.  Tell Jimmy John’s to join the consensus of working people around the nation and stop union busting efforts against Jimmy John’s employee organizing.  Call Tom Kirkpatrick and demand that I be reinstated.  

    Thank you to the thousands that called Tom already. Your backing truly is the inspiration and strength in going through this. One look at all the messages, personal phone calls, emails and texts of encouragement from everyone gives me confidence. It truly is a show of global support. Our strength comes from our solidarity.

  11. Jef permalink
    July 13, 2011 2:43 pm

    Dear Pat and Matt ( did you plan for a rhyme scheme?)
    I understand your need for conspiracy.
    You two should understand that people might just like to stick up for other mistreated people, I mean that’s what a union is about isn’t it?

    I visit a healthcare provider in that building several times a week and stop at Jimmy Johns for lunch on a regular basis. Anything I have written about was based off of my eavesdropping of flustered employees( which is rude I know, but if you have seen the size of that place you would understand) and by my own personal witness and based on my own opinions. This is why I said in the previous post that there is plenty that I don’t know about, inferring to readers to take my spiel with a grain of salt as they should with Matts. And yes, I prefer to remain anonymous because of the particular health provider I visit, and because Matt clearly likes to play childish spamming games.

    For the record, I am actually a woman, who is terribly offended that Matt wouldn’t remember or believe a regular ( who he had passing words with ) would want to stick up for other people that he is mistreating. It also shows Matt’s incompetence as a worker if he cannot even remember me after months of working there. Every other employee there remembers me and my sandwich every time I walk through that door even the new kid that I don’t even know his name!. I liked Matt until he pulled this stunt. I thought he was a nice guy ( not so good worker ). But this whole propaganda-laced debacle shows his true colors and makes me sick.

    So yes pat, as a regular to this restaurant, I would count myself as “a part” of the Jimmy Johns family. And yes, I do have a lot of managerial experience over the past 30 years of my career, so I did understand and agree with many of the complaints and discussions I overheard the day he harassed and terrorized everyone.
    I don’t agree with everything “Jimmy Johns” but I have dealt with misguided, closed-minded, uninformed people like you before. You, and everyone else in this campaign, follows Matt’s word blindly assuming everything he says is true and I DON’T AGREE WITH THAT. I’m not saying to blindly follow me or matt. I am telling you to THINK FOR YOURSELF.

    Matt, if you want a democracy, go talk with your ex-fellow-employees. After what I heard, I’m sure they would love to tell you how much they would NOT like you to work there anymore. And vote on it too.

    A Devoted Female Republican, Michigan.

  12. Jon Vander permalink
    July 13, 2011 3:36 pm

    LOL at the propaganda spewer backpedaling. At best she is nosy, obnoxious, and has a misplaced sense of entitlement and rage. At worst she is a festering pile of rotting USI begging to be banhammered. If she is going to be so full of shit, do you think she could at least have the courtesy not to be so tl;dr about it? I hope she’s having fun being part of the cancer that’s killing Grand Rapids.

  13. patrick vancamp permalink
    July 13, 2011 3:46 pm

    nice try jef,
    A very well worded coverstory, I assume since you know how bad matt is at his job that you filed a complaint with the manager? Of course not!!!! Because once again you are a balled faced liar!!
    As far as only believing one side of the story………it is the only side of the story that is being revealed because jimmy johns has too much to hide by releasing the “disciplinary documents” that are in question, because they do not exist. The truth is that you have absolutely no idea what is going on and you ARE a member of the company, so it is yet another example of your ignorance.

    I thought it was particulary funny how you left out the scare tactic phrase “liotering” (since your guilty of it) in your last post yet still included the ever popular “harrassed” and even uped the anty with”terrorized”. It is an age old tactic for clouding the issue, even though your attempt made it look primitive and simple!!
    If you are able to process this mentally, I will try to explain it, I am not in any way associated with any union OR THE IWW and actually think for the manufacturing industry they are obsolete but in the service industry companies are abusing employees by the masses, and the call for organization has never been stronger. If a documentary was made about the wages and rights of the employees of JJ and based in south africa you would send money to aid in the fight for eqaul rights for those poor people but since this involves your friends and subordinents you seem to be unsympathetically cold to the facts.

    And of course the employees are saying those things in the store in light of matt being fired for allegedly organizing. The clear cut fact is it is the illegal to fire some one for organizing and when I read the artcle about what happened to matt I was sickened by JJ treating hard working amerricans this way.

    But again I would like to thank you for your uninformed and obviously biased rambelings about conspiracy nuts and all the other ridiculous tactics you are trying to impose on the debate to cloud the real issue of matts rights by law as a hard working american citizen.
    But as for the rest of us we believe in american workers and we abide by the law and we also believe that jimmy johns should have to as well.

  14. patrick vancamp permalink
    July 13, 2011 3:52 pm

    And assume for just a minute that you are a customer, (or Tom) do you think the employees are just gonna walk up to you and start spilling the beans about everything when JJ has made it clear that anyone who has a desire to make fair wages will be fired!!! At least try harder next time!!

  15. patrick 2 permalink
    July 13, 2011 8:09 pm

    Dear patrick one. You apparently didn’t read matts post above where he admits to signing the write up he got. Just in case you didn’t know, a write up is a document letting you know what you did wrong. And matt clearly said he signed it up there. You all are retarded.

  16. patrick vancamp permalink
    July 13, 2011 8:30 pm

    Dear patrick2 AKA: doushebag.
    yes he said he got one right up a while back………and was not fired for that and that it was not customer related so what did I miss, because I think Tom refers to about 5 different infractions in his post and those are what I am reffering to. but I guesse if you just removed your head from your ass it my be difficult to read more than one at a time, please take a couple days and read the rest of the post above and then try again,
    And please can some of you cowards or just one of you cowards put your real name on here because not doing so discredits you before you even start typing,



  17. Jeff Smith permalink*
    July 13, 2011 9:15 pm

    To everyone posting comments on this article, please refrain from the name calling. People can argue all they want about this issue, that is welcomed, but personal attacks will not be tolerated, so if anyone wants to continue with name calling or demeaning language your comments will be deleted. This isn’t MLive where you can get away with that kind of non-sense. Sharing ideas and political positions is welcomed.

  18. david VanAllsburg permalink
    July 13, 2011 9:36 pm

    Patrick if you have no affiliation or knowledge of either party, you have the worst credibility of all, why should anyone listen to what you have to say? Fair enough jeff 🙂

  19. Ellen permalink
    July 13, 2011 10:23 pm


    It seems really strange that a person with a masters education in Labor relations would happen upon a job at a Jimmy John’s and decide that he didn’t like the conditions and want to organize. Is there any chance that you only took a job at Jimmy John’s so you could take a stab at writing your own place into Labor history and not because you wanted to deliver sandwiches?

  20. July 14, 2011 12:49 am


    I hold nothing against you. I will not engage in an posturing argument that just goes back and forth, never gets resolved and deters from the issue. It is futile to argue with management about why they would penalize union supporters. I have stated my position above. I am already talking to fellow employees, thanks anyway.

  21. Diane James permalink
    July 14, 2011 2:41 am

    I really don’t know who is pretending to be whom here, but I think this is just an attempt to make republicans look bad. Jef, if you really are a republican, please stop announcing it. You are embarrassing the rest of us.

  22. Diane James permalink
    July 14, 2011 2:53 am

    Logic is your friend. Get to know it. Embrace it.

  23. Marie Collander permalink
    July 14, 2011 4:38 am

    This entire ordeal takes me by surprise. Matt, the last I heard, you expressed that you wish you could invest in a JJ Franchise, and I agreed that JJ has the best subs.

  24. Jef permalink
    July 14, 2011 2:59 pm

    How so?

  25. patrick vancamp permalink
    July 14, 2011 4:59 pm

    After reading several articles about this attack on the working american, I followed up on the subject with matt bair and took several hours looking into the work conditions in the jimmy johns company and if you did the same you would feel the same……and I have spoken to a member of the managment staff of this particular jimmy johns on a different forum and he informed me that the management staff had previous knowledge of matt and several other employees who wished to organize!! Then strangley matt is fired without cause (unless of course jimmy johns wants to publicize these fake write-ups they said mat signed) and I think that the victoms of such horrible violations deserve my support!! There is a virtual boatload of information available online in regaurds to the awfull working conditions at jimmie johns nationwide if you care to follow up!!! So after getting up to speed with the subject I guesse I feel even stronger about it all now due to managments attempts to pose as concerned “reuglars” and spread these lies to preserve a socialist reign over these poor employees who just want a fair chance at making a living!! FAIR ENOUGH!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: