Employee Union Sues Treasure Island Foods for Short Closing Notice

Employee Union Sues Treasure Island for Short Closing Notice
Treasure Island produce department

Treasure Island Foods, the well-known Chicago independent grocer that recently announced its plan to shutter all locations, is facing a lawsuit from its workers union for allegedly violating a federal law on layoff notices, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.

Brought by United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 1546, the lawsuit says the company’s layoff notice that was delivered Sept. 26 announcing the Oct. 12 closure was in violation of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which states that companies can’t issue a "plant closing or mass layoff" until 60 days after serving official notice to employees. The union is arguing the closing the seven independent grocery stores is a "plant closing," and its 28 members are entitled to back pay and benefits for up to 60 days.

According the Tribune report, the lawsuit names as defendants the three corporate entities that operate Treasure Island – Treasure Island Foods, Treasure Island Foods Montrose Corp. and The Magazi – as well as Patrick Cavanaugh, principal of the liquidation firm High Ridge Partners, which is managing the company’s assets during the closure.

Treasure Island also is facing a lawsuit from produce supplier Anthony Marano Co., which alleges that the independent grocer didn’t pay for more than $450,000 of produce that was delivered between July 1 and Oct. 1, according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times. Maria Kamberos, president and CEO of Treasure Island Foods, and Christ Kamberos Jr., president, were named as defendants in the suit.

Before it announced its intent to shutter operations, Treasure Island operated seven independent grocery stores in Chicago. One closed last month, and the remaining six are currently holding going-out-of-business sales. It was a Chicago staple for 55 years and was named by Progressive Grocer as one of the top independent grocers in the country earlier this year.