BUSINESS
02/04/2014 06:26 pm ET Updated Feb 04, 2014

Sub Shop Workers Offered Jobs Back After Being Fired Via Email

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CHICAGO -- A small sandwich chain set off a firestorm last month after abruptly firing all of its employees via email just three days before Christmas.

Now, thanks to the help of a local labor group, some of those laid-off workers are getting their jobs back.

The Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago (WOCC) helped 14 former Snarf's Sub Shop employees win a month's work of back pay from their former employer. The WOCC, a union of Chicago retail and food workers that advocates for a $15 minimum wage and improved working conditions, represented the former Snarf Sub Shop workers before the National Labor Relations Board.

The move ultimately prompted Snarf's to settle with the employees in exchange for withdrawing charges with the NLRB. As part of the settlement, Snarf's also agreed to give workers their old jobs back, Progress Illinois reports.

On Monday, the Snarf's location that has since reopened as one of the company's burger restaurant concepts welcomed the 14 employees back to the job, WOCC communications director Deivid Rojas told HuffPost.

"By doing this, and by making it known that this is a victory for us, we are letting every fast food worker know, we are letting every small business know, we are letting every big business know that there are new standards in this country," said Lillian Henehan, a Snarf's assistant manager who was fired in the December email.

Twenty employees in all were originally fired. Snarf's issued a statement Monday say some "employees accepted reinstatement, while others chose not to," according to NBC Chicago.

"We know that we were fired in an unjust manner, and we want to make sure that we get justice out of the situation, and we think we did through the settlement," fired worker Kevin Brown told Progress Illinois.

In December, the Colorado-based sandwich company said it was closing one of its two Chicago outposts for an "unknown period of time for this remodeling and reconcepting." A spokeswoman for the company told The Huffington Post "[the closed location] was suffering."

The company's CEO later apologized for the timing and manner in which the employees were terminated.

Employees and labor activists said the abrupt December firings were retaliation after Snarf's workers walked off the job in late 2013 to protest for higher wages.

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