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Schumer calls Friendly’s closures ‘outrageous,’ promises to amend law to protect workers

Sen. Chuck Schumer says he will push to close a loophole in a federal law that allowed Friendly’s to lay off more than 300 New Yorkers with no notice.

“They came in on a Monday and they said, ‘Clean up the place, close-up shop. You’re not gonna work anymore.’ That’s outrageous,” Sen. Schumer said during a news conference at the Friendly’s in DeWitt on Monday.

That restaurant, as well as three others in the Finger Lakes and Central New York, closed abruptly on Sunday, April 7 and Monday, April 8.

Sen. Schumer has called for the Department of Labor to investigate Friendly’s over the closures and is now also proposing legislation that would close a loophole in the “WARN Act” to prevent something like this from happening again.

“This issue is not just about Friendly’s. it’s about big companies treating their workers with some honor and some decency,” said Sen. Schumer.

The WARN Act is a federal law that requires companies with more than 50 employees to give workers 60 days notice of termination.

Sen. Schumer says Friendly’s claimed since each restaurant did not have more than 50 employees, they didn’t have to give 60 days notice.

According to a letter written to franchisees, Friendly’s CEO George Mitchell, Friendly’s closed 23 corporate-owned restaurants in five states.

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