Employees of a Chicago sandwich chain received an email Sunday night notifying them of their termination, just days before Christmas.
Colorado-based Snarf’s Sub Shop said it was closing its River North location beginning Monday for an “unknown period of time” for remodeling, and that 20 of its employees would be fired the same day.
According to Mercury News, the workers were told their severance paychecks would be given to them on the Friday after Christmas and said to “keep an eye out for the grand opening of the new store.”
"We really regret our employees were given last-minute notice, but they were aware of the loss of business during the past year," Jill Preston, Snarf's director of marketing, said in a phone call to The Huffington Post.
Preston says the store will undergo a redesign as a burger joint like one of their Colorado locations. She also says the company couldn’t keep its employees or temporarily lay them off since a date for the re-opening wasn’t set.
Preston said the closing comes “at a really bad time” but “our location there is suffering” because of the increase in company cafeterias in the building and competition from food trucks close by.
"It was prudent to shut down [on Dec. 23] because we don't have a lot of business during that time," Preston said. The company's second location in the Chicago Loop buisiness district is unaffected.
The closures and firings come three weeks after Snarf’s employees joined a nationwide strike by fast food workers demanding higher wages and better benefits, according to Chicago Grid, which obtained the email.
Preston told the Grid that the termination did not have any relation to the strike.
“This is something we've had planned for awhile,” Preston said of the remodel that employees were not informed of before the emails were sent Sunday.
Worker’s Organizing Committee of Chicago and supporters came together outside of the closed restaurant, calling for the workers to get severance pay or their jobs back.
Preston says the workers should reapply for their old jobs as soon as the new restaurant is up and running.