‘Not The First’: Restaurant Worker Laid Off After Store Closes Warns About State’s Rising Minimum Wage

[Screenshot/Fox Business/"The Bottom Line"]

Hailey Gomez General Assignment Reporter
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Former Fosters Freeze Assistant General Manager Monica Navarro warned Wednesday on Fox Business about the effects of the state’s rising minimum wage on workers.

Navarro appeared on “The Bottom Line” to discuss how the Fosters Freeze, a chain fast-food restaurant in Lemoore, California where she was employed, announced their permanent closure on April 1. While some employees thought the announcement was an April Fools Day joke, Navarro said she learned about the shutdown through coworkers who showed up for work that day.

Navarro told the Fox Business show hosts that while California does not require employers to notify employees, it would have been helpful if they had. (RELATED: California Restaurants Forced To Cut Jobs As Newsom’s Minimum Wage Hike Looms)

“Two of my coworkers were actually going in to clock in for the morning and right after that, that’s when I got a phone call that we were closing. So they found out right as they were about to clock in for the day,” Navarro stated. “It’s a shock. I understand that California’s an at-will state, so we don’t really have to have a notice, but it would’ve been nice to have notice so that way we could go get some applications, I could prepare them. The best I can do is honestly give them some references.”

Fox host Dagen McDowell asked Navarro if she had spoken to her manager about the reasons behind the closure and about the minimum wage increase from $16 to $20 for California fast-food restaurants on April 1.

“From the people that I’ve spoke to, my employees, we would have rather stayed at the wage that we did have before,” Navarro stated. “Just because now we don’t have a job. And those who are still working in the areas around us that went up to $20 an hour, they got their hours severely cut. It’s a lot less people working on shifts so their jobs got a lot more difficult.”

“I can see their intentions with increasing the minimum wage, thinking that it will attract more people, but I honestly don’t think it’ll work. This is not the first business that’s closing,” she said. “There’s already a few local businesses, for me, that are closing – so I feel like this is just only the beginning.”

Restaurants throughout the blue state have reportedly been preparing to lay off workers due to the increase, with chains such as Pizza Hut and Round Table Pizza stating they would be cutting 1,280 delivery drivers this year, according to the Wall Street Journal. In addition to price hikes, the state’s rising crime rates have been affecting restaurants, with one of the state’s popular chains, In-N-Out, closing its location in Oakland, California.