Johaunna Cromer claims she was given no reason for being fired May 22 from her job at the Hardee’s restaurant in Biltmore Village, but she says the timing lines up suspiciously with recent activism she’s taken part in.
Cromer and others with the Fight For $15 movement attended a rally today in front of the Hardee’s, 71 Hendersonville Road, calling on the fast-food establishment to reverse its decision to fire Cromer.
Cromer had worked at the restaurant for eight months and claims the only reason given for the firing was that she made a comment saying she was going to quit, which she denies. On Friday, May 22, she came into work after taking a three-day break to attend a May 20 Fight For $15 rally at the corporate McDonald’s headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill. She says that upon her return she had a discussion with her boss and was given a piece of paper indicating she was no longer employed at Hardee’s.
Cromer says she had previously passed up job opportunities elsewhere but was encouraged to stay at Hardees, and was considered a good worker.
“They said I was an asset here. They said that plenty of times,” she says. “I’ve helped them pass plenty of quality assurance testing, we’ve broken our backs scrubbing to make sure the place was clean, my uniform stayed pressed, I stayed ready.”
Cromer filed for unemployment this week — her first time ever to do so — and also filed a labor complaint against Hardees.
“I know that the unemployment office is going to provide me with an attorney,” she says.
Xpress has attempted to contact the Hardee’s corporate office for comment, but messages have not been returned.
Asheville Sustainable Restaurant Workforce organizer Alia Todd was at the rally to show support. The organization celebrates its one year anniversary this week, and Todd says workers in Asheville are starting to realize they have certain rights.
“It is important that workers and others start talking about the dignity of work and their value as a part of the economy,” Todd says. “There is a real disconnect between how workers feel and what they are able to do about it. Workers need validation — they need to become comfortable with questioning their environment and understanding their rights passed down through the National Labor Relations Act.”
Under the National Labor Relations Act, workers are allowed to strike and picket, form a union, bargain collectively through representatives of employees’ own choosing or take action with one or more co-workers to improve working conditions by raising work-related complaints directly with employers or with a government agency and seeking help from a union.