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Jeni's Silence is Consent: Workers jobs lost. UPDATED

A note - Blogging isn't free. Right now I provide gifts to my writers as a way of thanking people for writing. I would like to be able to afford to give them some sort of renumeration, even if it is small, for making this blog what it is. I'm in talks with a friend who may be able to help connect this blog, which has been in existence for one year now, with more religious communities dedicated to interfaith dialogue. Your donation will do a lot toward making that happen.


As of today, July 9th, 2015 I have received an anonymous tip that Jeni's has begun a mass layoff of workers. This layoff was unplanned and the warehouse workers were not told in advance. The majority of the workers have been offered a months severance pay, or an offer of Part-time work in local scoop shops. Evidently, since the brand has been rocked by Listeria in it's production facilities it is cutting labor costs at the expense of livelihoods it provides, if it ever did in the first place.

Jeni's Fined $2.5 Million

The Ohio-based artisan ice cream maker said it discovered listeria in its production kitchen again, just seven weeks after the company destroyed more than 265 tons of product and lost at least $2.5 million after listeria was discovered in a pint of dark chocolate ice cream in late April.

The staff have been forced to sign a nondisclosure agreement with the Liberal Firebrand after being laid off. Jeni's has been known as an "ethical company" by using organic ingredients sourced to local farms and partners in Ohio and had recently expanded to California before the brand destroyed it's product due to listeria concerns.

 The Columbus-based ice cream maker and retailer Friday said it will reopen its storesat 5 p.m. Saturday across the country. It will be serving up a limited menu of Jeni’s brand ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet, but the product will be made by Smith Dairy.

Jeni's enlists Smith Dairy to help with re-opening 

 In effect we are seeing ethical consumerism isn't a problem solver, as wages and benefits from this brand were most likely subpar while Jeni raked in massive profits and CEO John Lowe is cutting labor costs to bolster the future of the brand if it has one.

The workers need to seize their destiny and organize around the failure of the company and re-tool it to work for themselves and the consumer. Only then can Jeni's run efficiently again.

UPDATE

Through more sources I have acquired what the alleged Non-disclosure agreement contained. According to sources to remain anonymous, the "agreement" was a signed in order to force the employees to resign with a months pay, so that Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream doesn't have to pay unemployment insurance to the employees who have been let go.

It is also said that employees who do not sign will be put into scoop shops with hours and pay to be cut as well. Also, further speculation agreements signed also may have been proprietary but given the nature of the business, it is to gag employees from speaking truth in regards to the situation. The coverage of NPR, Business First and the Columbus Dispatch isn't truthful as it lacks the employees side of the issue. 

 Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream reported $9 million dollars in revenue in 2012, yet according to Glassdoor averages wages for a Jeni's employee ranges between $9.44 to $9.57 an hour.

Reviews are varied from good to miserable, in one review states Nepotism has run rampant in the factory, while the worker themselves cannot afford healthcare with their minimal wages, for such a profitable company. I have reports of intimidation for employees taking days off for family issues as well, if this is ethical I don't know what is.

Jeni's Glassdoor Reviews




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Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

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Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

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