On Sunday Snarf’s Sandwiches fired all twenty employees at their 600 W. Chicago Ave store via email—citing “remodeling “ and “reconcepting” as their reasoning to let these employees go three days before Christmas and temporarily close shop; however it is largely speculated that this decision was made in retaliation to the December 5th strike these employees took place in as part of the national Fight for 15 campaign.
Pro-union Snarf’s employee, Kevin Brown staged an action at the Chicago ave location the very next morning, and distributed flyers urging customers to call director of operations Doug Besant and demand severance pay and job security for the twenty workers once the location’s indefinite remodeling period ends. This flyer was reposted all over the web by the Fight for 15 campaign.
After an onslaught of public outrage regarding Snarf’s decision, the following statement was issued by company owner/CEO Jim Seidel via the company’s Facebook page:
“I am very remorseful for the way we handled our recent restaurant closure at 600 West in Chicago. It was insensitive and poorly planned. By explanation, rather than excuse, business was suffering and we felt the need to act quickly to begin efforts to re-concept the store. We recognize now we acted rashly. For this, we apologize to our employees and to our loyal customers who we know we’ve disappointed. This was not handled in a way that met our own standards for quality and kindness. We’ve learned from this mistake and will not be so insensitive again. For now, as a token of our apology and in the holiday spirit, we will be providing impacted employees an additional week of wages. Again, we are deeply sorry.”
While Brown and his fellow employees demands of job security and full severance pay have yet to be met, Seidel’s decision to offer a week of wage compensation is at the very least a small victory in their mission to raise the national minimum wage to fifteen dollars an hour.