The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, November 07, 2014

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman

Land clearing for bridge commences

The North American International Trade Crossing (NITC, the public bridge planned to be constructed over the Detroit River downstream from the Ambassador Bridge) has taken another small step forward, with word that land is being cleared for the project in Southwest Detroit.

Gov. Rick Snyder announced Oct. 29 that crews are removing abandoned publicly owned buildings on Post, Crawford and Reid streets.

“The NITC will energize the turnaround of Detroit and our entire state,” Snyder said. “It means jobs for families, modern infrastructure that attracts investment, and greater security for Michigan and America. The clearing of land is the latest phase of this exciting project, which is right on track and moving forward. We appreciate all parties working collaboratively in a manner that ensures the needs of the community and the project both are met.”

The final major unresolved hurdle for the Detroit-Windsor bridge project is approval by the federal government of $250 million to build a customs plaza in Detroit. In July, appointments to the International Authority were announced by Snyder and Lisa Raitt, Canada’s minister of transport. The authority will oversee construction of the publicly owned bridge between Detroit and Windsor.

The $250 million cost of the customs plaza is outside of the estimated cost of $500 million to build the bridge, which the government of Canada has offered to pay up front and get reimbursed by bridge tolls.

Jimmy John’s freaky employment rules

Oh, corporate misbehavior. Will you never end?

In August, public and political pressure prompted Walgreens to drop plans to move its corporate headquarters from Illinois to Switzerland in a blatant effort to evade paying U.S. taxes. Last month, Wal Mart cut off 30,000 part-time employees from access to the company’s health insurance, in a cost-savings effort.

Now comes Jimmy Johns, the company that pledges to deliver its submarine sandwiches in a “freaky fast” manner.

“Many workers at Jimmy John’s sandwich shops have been asked to sign the sort of strict non-compete agreement usually reserved for high-level executives,” said theHuffington Post on Oct. 17. “According to the clause, the worker agrees not to take a job at a competing sandwich shop for a period of two years following employment at Jimmy John’s.” Jimmy Johns defines a competitor rather broadly, as any business that derives 10 percent or more of its revenue from the sale of sandwiches, located within a three-mile radius of a Jimmy John’s location.

The legality of the restrictions haven’t been tested yet in the courts. But theHuffington Post said workers in some cities who leave employment at Jimmy John’s remove themselves from potential food service employment in “wide swaths” of some cities, and effectively run  themselves out of work in Chicago, Denver and Minneapolis.

Use of the contract clause has varied from store to store.