HARTSELLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Employees at Hartselle Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) walked off the job over the weekend, citing poor working conditions.
According to the employees, it wasn’t just the chicken that was cooking.
Hartselle KFC employees told News 19 that their air conditioning system had been out of order for more than a month. Former chief executive Ta Edwards said the air went out in mid-May and he had been trying to fix it for weeks.
“It was just miserable,” Edwards said. “I mean you [have to] think as hot as it is outside, and then we have ovens and fryers and different stoves.
Edwards said he decided to close the restaurant on July 2.
“We arrived at July 2, and [there] still wasn’t done,” Edwards said. “[It] was 95 degrees in our store that day. Many of my employees worked tirelessly, without calling, without relief, and I just got tired of putting them through it.
Edwards said he felt like he was out of options.
“I had contacted everyone I knew I could contact and still nothing was done,” he told News 19. [me]. As a leader, I felt like it was my responsibility to take care of my employees, so I did.
The decision to close the store ultimately cost Edwards his job. He said he was informed on July 4 that he was no longer employed and that if the other employees did not return to work by Tuesday morning, they would also be fired.
News 19 reached out to KFC, which issued a statement about it:
When the air conditioning unit failed, the franchise owner of the location installed temporary air conditioning units and fans, and a replacement unit was ordered. As with many supply chain items currently, there was a delay in the arrival of the replacement unit, which delayed the repair. The new unit has been installed.
Although the franchisee cannot comment on personnel matters, we can confirm that no terminations have occurred due to this employee complaint.
Former Edwards employees say he was wrongfully fired and want KFC to return his job.
“Of course being a good manager he made sure we were looked after,” said Hartselle KFC employee David Collett. “There was no reason to do anything except to fix our air.”
Employees say only one of the multiple units of the air conditioning system has been repaired so far.