U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York says if Friendly’s had been a manufacturer instead of a restaurant franchise, it would have been required to give workers 60 days notice of layoffs instead of abruptly telling them they were out of a job.

Spencer Platt

Friendly’s suddenly closed 23 outlets in the Northeast, most of them in New York and two in Broome County, earlier this month. Most of the employees were told when they arrived on the job April 7. The company released a letter to the media dated “April 8” addressed to franchisees saying the changing business climate and consumer trends had led to the decision to close several restaurant locations.  The company says employees were informed “face-to-face” and it acted in accordance to all regulations.

Schumer says if it had been a manufacturer with the same number of employees, the workers would have been given two months’ notice of job cuts.

The Democrat says the loophole lies in Friendly’s being a company with several locations employing smaller numbers of workers at each restaurant.  Schumer is introducing legislation to include more cases in which the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification or “WARN” Act would be required.