Treasure Island Foods Employees Protest Lost Wages & Insurance, File Suit Against Company

Lisa Fielding
October 08, 2018 - 1:28 pm

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Last month, hundreds of employees at Chicago's Treasure Island Food stores were notified that that day would be their last.

"I got my paycheck on Sept. 28 and in it was a letter saying I was let go," said Sandra Roman, who's worked for the company for 22 years. "It was a slap in the face. For Treasure Island to not tell us this ahead of time is unfair."

Treasure Island announced at the end of last week that it plans to close all the company's six remaining locations by Oct. 12.

The workers union said this violates labor laws because the company's 700 employees were not given 60 days notice. Employees said no one had any idea the company would be shutting down.

"We never heard any rumors. I spoke to the Vice President about three days before this happened because we weren't able to order anything. He actually came to me and said everything is fine, stick around, we're going to be ok," said Trita Bojku, Deli Manager.

"We did get paid Friday, but that was our last check," Bojku said. "Some workers got a letter that said they were done that day and that they were no longer needed, others had a letter that extended them to another 12 days.  

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

The letter sent to employees said it’s been impossible for the owners to operate without losing money and blamed industry conditions. A spokesperson for Arise Chicago said they plan on filing a class action lawsuit on behalf of all of its workers, union and non-union, to recover lost wages and insurance.

"Treasure Island has been a cherished grocery store in Chicago since 1963. Even more valuable than these stores and their loyal customers are the loyal workers," said Reverend C.J. Hawking, Executive Director, Arise Chicago.

"It is shocking to learn that Treasure Island has left their workers stranded, without notice, without paychecks, without health care and without regard to these loyal workers and their families."

WBBM Newsradio/Felicia Middlebrooks

Hawking said Treasure Island is in violation of the WARN Act.

"The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act requires an employer of Treasure Island's size to provide 60 days notice before they let workers go," he said.

In addition to the Streeterville and Hyde Park stores, Treasure Island has locations in Lakeview, Gold Coast, Old Town and Wilmette. Their Lincoln Park operation went out of business earlier this month. WBBM Newsradio has reached out to Treasure Island Foods Corporate offices for further comment.