LOS ANGELES -- A federal judge here last week approved a settlement of class-action labor lawsuit in which Vons, Albertsons, Ralphs and a subcontractor agreed to pay a total of $22.4 million to resolve claims that they had underpaid janitors for years.
The suit, filed in 2002, alleged that the three chains hired janitors through the subcontractor, Building One Service Solutions, but were responsible for the workers' scheduling, which included overtime without pay.
Each of the 2,000 janitors who were plaintiffs in the suit will receive up to $10,000. The three chains will pay amounts based on the number of janitors hired, with Safeway paying the most, followed by Albertsons, then Ralphs, according to Javier Amaro, lead investigator for SEIU's Maintenance Corp. Trust Fund here.
Building One Service Solutions, the third-party contractor through which the chains hired the janitors, has agreed to contribute $950,000 to the settlement.
Amaro told SN that the SEIU believes Vons continues to underpay janitors through a subcontractor.
"We're not completely satisfied," he told SN.
Brian Dowling, a spokesman for Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway, parent of Vons, declined to comment on the settlement but said it had "no knowledge of any problems or violations" concerning its employment of janitors.
Albertsons, Boise, Idaho, and Kroger-owned Ralphs, Compton, Calif., could not be reached for comment.