Workers at a Duluth, Minnesota Wendy’s fast food restaurant that was destroyed by a fire will continue receiving paychecks until the store reopens.
According to the Duluth News, a Jan. 13 fire severely damaged the building, causing the restaurant to shut down temporarily. Bob Sullivan, owner of the restaurant, claimed that he wouldn’t feel right laying off his employees because of the fire.
“We have a great team of people working for us, and they’ve got bills to pay like everyone else. We want to do our best to keep as many of them as we can. It’s just the right thing to do,” Sullivan said.
The Wendy’s store currently employs 30 workers, many of whom were concerned that their paychecks would be cut off after the fire. Restaurant general manager Jackie Grandi explained that her coworkers were glad to hear Sullivan’s news that they would not be losing their jobs.
“A lot of people were very relieved. Some people were already canceling things because they thought they were probably going to lose their paychecks,” Grandi said.
The decision to continue paying workers despite the shutting down the store is an unusual one, especially in these unstable economic times. Job growth in the United States has been particularly slow in recent months.
According to the Los Angeles Times, employers added 113,000 new jobs in January, a statistic significantly below the expected 180,000 or more. Unemployment, on the other hand, dropped slightly — from 6.7% in January to 6.6% in February. Still, those numbers are startlingly high, and recovery from the 2008 recession has been incredibly slow-moving.
In addition to the cost of paying his employees, Sullivan’s cost of rebuilding the Duluth Wendy’s is likely going to be expensive. Sullivan estimates that he’ll end up spending around $400,000 on construction and insurance costs alone.