Schumer Calls For Friendly’s Investigation

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer on Wednesday called on the U.S. Department of Labor to look into the sudden closure of Friendly’s restaurants across New York. Specifically, Schumer wants an investigation on the “manner by which New York workers were let go this past weekend by the Friendly’s Corporation.”

Across the Northeast, 23 Friendly’s locations — including the one at Brooklyn Square in Jamestown — closed this past weekend without warning. Of those that closed, 14 were in New York state.

In a statement Wednesday, Schumer, D-NY, said he took issue with reports that workers were “in the dark, and arrived at their jobs only to be told to shut the doors for good.” As a result, he said the closure warrants a closer inspection.

“No matter how you look at it, the way these abrupt closures and sudden firings went down was anything but friendly to Upstate workers,” Schumer said. “As a major corporation, Friendly’s must adhere to federal laws that provide their employees with necessary updates when their employment is in imminent danger, but it doesn’t look like that happened here. Or maybe there was a way to skirt those rules? Bottom line, people have a lot of questions, including me, and the feds should provide some answers.”

“This kind of unannounced, mass layoff shouldn’t happen to any worker without fair notice, so it is up to the feds to investigate the manner by which Upstate workers were notified of layoffs and determine if better employee protections are needed within the service industry. If the latter is true, I will be the first to pursue a legislative fix in Congress.”

Schumer asked the Department of Labor to look into if any WARN laws were skirted and determine whether service workers in corporate service employment need better protections. He noted that it didn’t appear Friendly’s filed any notices with the federal government.

“When a worker takes a job, they are often mandated to provide a two-week notice upon quitting. Friendly’s should have to live by that same kind of standard, anything less is both unfair and irresponsible,” Schumer added.

On Tuesday, the letters at the former Jamestown Friendly’s restaurant were taken down while the sign out front was covered in black paint. The location first opened its doors in 1985.