Labor unions have struggled to make quick-service inroads, but remain steadfast in their attempts to organize fast food employees.

Daniel Smith reports at QSR Magazine that Jimmy John’s boasts more than 1,000 stores nationwide, claiming an army of sandwich makers and delivery drivers that matches that of most of America’s quick-service companies. Last fall, however, overwhelming attention zeroed in on just 10 units in the Minneapolis area.

On October 22, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced the results of 174 Jimmy John’s employee ballots for unionization. The sandwich company held its breath; so, too, did many in the quick-service category. Unionization would spur sweeping changes in employment practices across the quick-service landscape, while a dominant anti-union vote would do much to silence organized labor’s efforts to break into the elusive quick-service base.

Although the Jimmy John’s measure was defeated—87 votes cast against the union, 85 for, and two ballots challenged—the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), the guiding force behind the Jimmy John’s unionization push, has vowed to continue the fight.

“Our goal is to bring working conditions in quick-service restaurants in line with standards of respect and dignity in other industries,” says Erik Forman, a Starbucks and Jimmy John’s employee who, as an IWW volunteer, actively organizes campaigns at both workplaces. “We think workers deserve decent wages, consistent scheduling, sick days, and increased job security. With the profit margins of most fast food chains, we feel these are reasonable demands.”

The IWW’s steadfast attitude—combined with the growing influence of social justice organizations that campaign for similar labor issues—presents a challenge to a quick-service industry still looking to rebound from the recession.

Read more at: QSR Magazine