BAYAN USA applauds the brave workers of Jollibee Journal Square in New Jersey for taking a stand against poor working conditions and exploitation. We wholeheartedly support their fight, and the fight of all other Jollibee workers who face similar conditions.
Jollibee workers in Jersey City and the surrounding area have faced chronic understaffing, scheduling issues, mistreatment, wage theft, and are kept intentionally part-time to deny workers of benefits. After workers at the Journal Square location came together to organize a petition drive for better pay, nine workers were unjustly terminated. The petition had the support of almost the entire workforce. Management justified the termination by saying the store had been losing money for the past two years and needed to cut costs. Two weeks later, the store began hiring again.
The terminated workers courageously confronted management on July 6 to deliver a letter with their grievances and demands. However, instead of listening to them, management did not let the workers finish reading what they had prepared, and instead called the police on them.
The experience of these Jollibee workers is not an isolated incident. In the Philippines, Jollibee has been notorious for mass lay-offs, as well as its practice of contractualization wherein workers are hired on short-term contracts with no opportunity for job security. This is despite record profits of $135 million in 2022, with $31 million coming from US sales. Tony Tan Caktiong, the founder and chairman of Jollibee Foods Corporation, is among the 10 richest Filipinos in the Philippines with a net worth of over $1 billion. It is clear that the exploitation of Filipino workers at the hands of the big comprador bourgeoisie extends overseas.
We uplift the demands of the Jollibee Journal Square workers for Jollibee Foods Corporation to: 1) Uphold workers’ rights to organize, 2) Reinstate workers who were unjustly terminated and give them back pay and compensation for lost wages; 3) Apologize publicly for their actions; and 4) Answer the original demands for a wage increase, holiday pay, and other workplace improvements. We also hold Jollibee to account to ensure it respects workers’ rights across all locations in the US.
Sign the petition to reinstate the unjustly terminated workers here: tinyurl.com/J4JW-Petition.