Minimum wage strike backfires; restaurant shuts down

Three weeks after a small sub shop’s employees joined a nationwide fast-food restaurant worker strike for higher wages and better benefits, the shop has closed.

Snarf Sub ShopSnarf’s Sub Shop in Chicago was closed for four days because of the employee strike during an already slow Christmas season, according to Chicago Grid.

The sandwich shop denies that the closing was due to the strike, but sent this email to its 20 employees Sunday night informing them they no longer had a job:

1. Due to increased competition and losses, ownership has decided to consider remodeling and reconcepting the store at 600 West Chicago Ave.

2. The store is closing, effective tomorrow, December 23, 2013 for an unknown period of time for this remodeling and reconcepting.

3. All staff is terminated, effective Monday, December 23, 2013.

4. All staff may apply for unemployment, if eligible.

5. Return any keys and Company property to Will Ravert at 600 West Chicago Avenue on Monday, December 23, 2014 during normal business hours.

6. Payroll will be processed as usual this week and paid on Friday, December 27, 2013.

7. Keep an eye out for the grand opening of the new store.

8. Ownership appreciates your service and wish you well in your new endeavors.

Doug Besant

Director of Operations

Jill Preston, Snarf’s director of marketing told the Grid the restaurant is planning to remodel, change the format of the menu and reopen under a new name.

“During the Christmas holiday we’re pretty slow,” she said. “The restaurant’s usually three quarters closed. This does happen to coincide, but this is something we’ve had planned for a while.”

Deivid Rojas, communications director of the Worker’s Organizing Committee of Chicago, said members were picketing at the restaurant site Monday to “call for severance pay and re-employment for the fired Snarf’s employees,” according to the Grid.

“Three days before Christmas and not even a call,” Rojas told the Grid. “It’s not fair that management and the corporation is treating [employees] this way.”

Preston said that the business will reopen in about a month and employees are welcome to reapply for a position with the new restaurant.

H/T: Western Center for Journalism

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