HARTSELLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Employees at the Hartselle Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) walked out over the weekend, citing poor working conditions.
According to the employees, the chicken wasn’t the only thing cooking.
Employees at the Hartselle KFC told News 19 their air conditioning system was broken for more than a month. Former General Manager Ta Edwards said the air went out in mid-May and he tried to get it fixed for weeks.
“It was just miserable,” said Edwards. “I mean, you [have to] think as hot as it is outside, and then we have ovens and fryers and different cookers.”
Edwards said he decided to close the restaurant on July 2.
“We got to July 2, and [there] was still not anything done,” Edwards stated. “[It] was 95 degrees in our store that day. A lot of my employees have been working tirelessly, not calling in, not getting any relief, and I just got tired of putting them through that.”
Edwards said he felt like he ran out of options.
“I had contacted everybody I knew to contact and still nothing was getting done,” he told News 19. “Nobody was even communicating with [me]. As a leader, I felt like that was my responsibility to take care of my employees, and so that’s what I did.”
The decision to close the store ultimately cost Edwards his job. He said he was notified on July 4 that he was no longer employed and if the other employees didn’t return to work by Tuesday morning, they would be terminated too.
News 19 reached out to KFC, who offered a statement on the matter:
When the A/C unit failed, the franchisee who owns the location installed temporary A/C units and fans, and a replacement unit was ordered. As with many items in the supply chain currently, there was a delay in the arrival of the replacement unit, which delayed the repair. The new unit has been installed.
While the franchisee cannot comment on personnel matters, we can confirm no termination occurred due to this employee complaint.KFC Spokesperson
Edwards’ former employees say he was wrongfully terminated and want KFC to give him his job back.
“Of course, him being a good manager, he made sure that we were taken care of,” said David Collett, an employee at the Hartselle KFC. “There was no reason for anything to be done except for getting our air fixed.”
Employees say that only one of the multiple units in the air conditioning system has been fixed at this time.