Notoriously anti-union Gov. Bill Haslam (R-Tenn.) can't be happy about this story. Haslam's family owns Pilot Flying J, a chain of travel centers, and workers at a Subway sandwich shop in the Pilot Flying J location in Bloomsbury, N.J., just voted to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). Earlier this year, Haslam was one of the key players in the effort to defeat a union vote at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga. The company run by his brother, Jimmy, hasn't been as successful in denying workers their rights, as other workers at the Bloomsbury Pilot Flying J location voted to join RWDSU earlier this year.
The 13 workers are employed by Pilot Flying J, which owns the Subway franchises inside its locations. According to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the workers voted 8–5 to be represented by the union. Pilot Flying J has a week to file objections before the vote can be certified by the NLRB.
Ashley Sprouse, one of the workers who voted in favor of the union, says:
I am very relieved the election is over and very proud of my co-workers for hanging tough during the past three months of the campaign. The company threw many roadblocks in front of us and hired an anti-union professional to scare us to vote 'no,' but we overcame this and were victorious.
The Subway workers say they wanted the company to provide them with more regular wage increases and flexibility to have time off to meet family responsibilities without fear of losing their paycheck. Pilot Flying J attempted to derail the election by telling the NLRB that some of the workers who supported the union should be classified as supervisors and shouldn't be eligible to vote. The NLRB ruled against the company.