Joey gets to work

By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  December 7, 2011

"I got to say 'union,' " Joey says.

There have been practical pick-ups, too, for a newly prominent activist bent on knowing his subject front to back. At his bare bones apartment off Broadway, Joey hunches over a large guide to the Family Medical Leave Act, soaking up the minutia.

"I don't know this shit," he says, with a smile.

But he's learning. He hopes to compile a "know your rights" guide for service industry workers in the coming months.

Joey says he's stunned by how little people know about labor laws — be they immigrants or overeducated hipsters who think of their coffee shop jobs as mere weigh stations, but are increasingly finding that the work, in this economy, is something more permanent.

Indeed, as his 15 minutes of fame stretches into a couple of months, DeFrancesco is convinced that our uniquely horrific economy explains much of the "Joey Quits" appeal.

But there is, he says, something more to it: the age-old impulse to get out from under a crappy administrator. "Most of the jobs I've had," he says, "I've been thinking since Day Two about elaborate ways I can tell off my boss."

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