Employees of a Vacaville bagel franchise quit on Saturday, alleging that the general manager was improperly terminated, announcing their departure in a short video on TikTok. went viral.
About 16 employees of Noah New York Bagels have left in solidarity with their manager, Bre Kowalski, who was reportedly fired earlier this week. The shop continues to serve bagels, albeit with a smaller number of employees.
Kowalski said she had worked at the Vacaville site for 11 months and enjoyed her time there, but that changed when a new district manager was brought in. The new district manager, she said, comes from Panera Bread, which merged with Noah’s parent company, Einstein. Bros. Bagels in August, and wanted to bring former Panera employees to Noah’s site.
“They tried to get me to transfer schools, and I refused,” she said.
One day when Kowalski wasn’t at the store, she said there was an extra bank deposit that didn’t go to the bank. She claims this led to the termination of her contract, which she learned after finding she had been given a final paycheck in her bank account.
“I felt this was their way of pushing me away so he could get a colleague to take over the store,” she said.
After Kowalski terminated her contract, 16 of her other colleagues resigned on Saturday. This was partly recorded in a 10 seconds video photographed by former shift leader Beonce Sarmiento, which shows employees walking into the store with the caption “When the team gathers to leave work on the same day”. Sarmineto posted the video to her TikTok page with the caption “Say no to malicious management,” and it has garnered 6.4 million views as of Wednesday.
Kowalski said she was shocked by the staff’s decision, as she did not ask them to quit, but was grateful to see them standing behind her and standing up for themselves.
“I’m proud that they stood their ground and made a statement, saying they were irreplaceable,” she said.
Sarmiento later used his TikTok page to share more videos of the incident and respond to comments. She said most employees already have second jobs, so their income is guaranteed.
Kowalski said she was pleased with the level of engagement the first video garnered, noting that Sarmiento’s account didn’t have many followers before.
“It’s not even like we really have a follower base, and it’s like bursting out of nowhere,” she said.
Although some commenters have disputed the claim that employees are irreplaceable, Kowalski said she and her former staff have enjoyed a lot of support in the community and beyond.
“Honestly, I feel so blessed to have so much support,” she said.
Kowalski hopes to get another general manager job elsewhere. She also defended her staff from critics who said they were “too young” to make such a statement.
“They are sad because they lost their jobs, but they are even sadder because they have separated our small family,” she said. “We were really close. We are already a family, and nothing can replace that.”
Noah Bagels is a Berkeley-based chain with 56 locations across California, with the Vacaville store opening at Nut Tree Plaza in 2018. The chain was owned by Einstein Bros. Acquired by Bagels in 1996, the company merged with Panera Bread last year to form Panera Brands. .
The Vacaville location continued to operate, although one employee said they had to adjust their hours due to staff shortages. This week, the shop is open from 6am to noon. The employee declined to comment further on the matter.
Noah Bagels’ corporate office did not return a request for comment, although the company issued a statement to KCRA 3 saying it was looking into the matter.
https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/01/20/noahs-bagels-employees-quit-following-managers-termination/ In the viral video, Noah Bagels employee quit after the manager terminated the contract