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Catoosa restaurant fires 12 workers for not showing up on 'Day Without Immigrants'

CATOOSA, Okla. (KTUL) - A dozen workers at a Catoosa restaurant are without a job after getting fired for skipping work as a show of support for “A Day Without Immigrants.”

The restaurant workers are all Hispanic and say it was important to them to participate in the national protest.

But they didn’t think it would cost them their jobs.

“They feel like they’ve been unfairly terminated," said a friend, translating for the employees.

The group worked at I Don’t Care Bar and Grill in Catoosa. They talked to us after they were fired for not showing up to work. They asked us not to show their faces or give their names.

“(They’ve) been working there for almost two years since the restaurant opened," said the friend.

The group willingly chose to stay home with others across the country, supporting “A Day Without Immigrants.”

“(They’re) upset they stood for something they felt was necessary so the community would stand together, and they got terminated for that," said the friend.

The six are part of a group of 12 kitchen staff let go.

The owner fired them by text message.

A message to one of the employees reads: "You and your family are fired. I hope you enjoyed your day off, and you can enjoy many more. Love you.”

The workers aren't sure what comes next, but they did feel they had to stand up for immigrants living and working in the U.S.

“That was their way to show they are needed in the community," said the friend.

Restaurant owner Bill McNally gave us a written statement, saying he has a "zero tolerance policy for no show/no call incidents and the 12 employees violated that policy."

Despite the shock of being fired, the employees say they aren’t mad and expected a possible reprimand, but they weren’t counting on getting canned.

“They feel like he could’ve done something for them since they’d been working for him," said the friend.

Friday in a Facebook post, the restaurant was shopping for replacement workers.

In the meantime, these workers say they’re moving on to other jobs, taking their stance with them.

“Immigrants are important to the nation," said the friend.

The group says it's never had a problem with the owner in the past and wishes him the best.

But the fired employees say they will continue to stand together in the future.

The owner did share with us he’s fired other employees over the past two years for violating his “no call/no show” policy.

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