On December 5th, the fast food workers of Chicago (organized by the Worker’s Organizing Committee of Chicago) joined scores of others nationwide in protesting the starvation wages that many are forced to live on these days. Like many others, they stood outside their place of employment, drumming up support for benefits and $15 an hour pay — up from the $9.50 an hour they currently make. Unlike many others, though, they were also striking for the right to form unions without retaliation. “Chicago is a union town!” they chanted in the face-freezing cold.
As the events of the last few weeks have proven, for the time being at least, their actions were futile.
On December 23rd, all 20 employees of Snarf’s Sandwich shop got an email from management telling them that the shop was closing due to “increased competition and losses” and because the owners were considering “remodeling and re-concepting” the restaurant into a burger joint.
According to the restaurant’s director of marketing Jill Preston, this has nothing at all to do with the strike from two weeks before, or the three-day closure that it caused.
“During the Christmas holiday we’re pretty slow. The restaurant’s usually three quarters closed. This does happen to coincide, but this is something we’ve had planned for a while.”
She was silent as to why employees only go one day’s notice about a mass termination that they’d been “planning for a while.”
It should be noted as well that, while the restaurant does plan on reopening, this is no temporary layoff. The former employees are welcome to apply for positions when it reopens, along with the other million or so who undoubtedly will. Those employees might benefit from the wisdom of the former on one matter:
Don’t unionize. Don’t strike. Don’t demand anything. Snarf’s will just clean house, change face and hire your replacements.
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.
Director of Operations