Bartolotta Restaurant Group LLC says approximately 268 employees are affected by temporary mass layoffs initially made in March and April that are now expected to extend beyond the expected six-month time frame due to the challenges brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Notice filed with the state Department of Workforce Development, those affected by the Bartolotta layoffs include 101 cooks, 54 servers, 25 managers, 22 chefs, 20 dishwashers, 14 cashiers, nine administrative employees, as well as several bartenders, receiving staff, food runners, hosts and cleaners.
"The mass layoff is necessitated by unexpected business circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic," the Milwaukee-based restaurant operator wrote, saying it's unclear when the temporary layoff will end.
Under the U.S. Department of Labor's WARN Act, employers are required to give notice when a temporary layoff or furlough lasts longer than six months, at the time it becomes reasonably foreseeable that the extension is required.
Bartolotta said it did not anticipate layoffs to exceed six months when they were implemented on March 16, March 20 and April 6. It also said the rapidly changing economic landscape made it impossible for the group to give more advanced notice to the state.
Three of Bartolotta's 17 Milwaukee-area locations have reopened since operations halted from mid-March to early July, in response to the coronavirus. Salaried employees were kept working until mid-April and all employees received medical benefits through April 30.
The group recently told BizTimes Milwaukee that a total of 220 salaried and hourly employees have now been brought back to work. Prior to the pandemic, the company had 950 employees.
Bartolotta's laid-off employees do not have automatic transfer or bumping rights to another facility, and do not have a collective bargaining representative, according to the WARN notice.