In one of the last places one would ever want to take a hunger strike, Mi Pueblo Foods workers will abstaining for two days in support of their former co-workers who were fired in January.

The protesters say almost 300 of their fellow employees were fired without just cause, but the supermarket insists it was closer to half of that number, and the reasoning was because of the poor economy.

The San Jose-based Hispanic supermarket chain laid off truck drivers, warehouse workers and cashiers, according to the Justice for Mercado Workers Coalition.

The coalition said a human resources manager told the employees they were being terminated because Mi Pueblo Foods had “low sales,” but meanwhile opened a new store in Seaside.

Perla Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for Mi Pueblo Foods, acknowledged that employees were fired in January, but said it was done out of necessity for the supermarket.

“We feel for any person who has lot their job in this economy,” Rodriguez said. “At the same time we have a responsibility to our employees and our customers to manage this business so we can be here in the long run.”

The workers are part of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 union. Some of the former workers held a news conference in San Jose this morning to announce the hunger strike.