Treasure Island workers fight for healthcare, 2 months’ pay

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CHICAGO — In four days, all seven Treasure Island stores will close for good.

Employees said they were only given a two-week notice about the abrupt closure. A complaint filed in federal court Thursday alleges the grocery store chain broke the law by not providing a 60-day notice and by cutting off health insurance.

Treasure Island did not respond to requests for comment.

"My check pays my bills," employee Sandra Roman said. "I need to feed my kids. Right now, we are in a critical situation at my home."

Most of Treasure Island’s 700 employees have worked at the chain for more than 10 years. Employees received termination letters on Sept. 29, according to a former employee who wishes to remain anonymous.

Treasure Island has been open in Chicago since 1963. Workers said they’ve seen signs of trouble for months.

"I spoke to the vice president three days before this happened to see if everything was OK because we were not able to order anything," employee Drita Bojku said. "He actually came to me and said, 'Everything is fine, stick around, we are going to be OK.' And I said OK."

There are six Treasure Island locations in Chicago and one in Wilmette. The Lincoln Park location closed last month.

"A lot of these people give their all to these chains," said Earl Saverson, Jr., who is married to a former employee. "Move around to different stores. Go where needed, without questions asked. And they're being treated totally unfair."

Outside the Treasure Island at 3460 N. Broadway, members of the Lakeview community gathered Monday to speak out on behalf of the employees. Community members have shopped at the location for years and feel like the employees deserve better.

“The workers are professional, kind, good hearted and hard working,” Rabbi Shoshanah Conover said. “They deserve their 60 days’ pay and their health insurance.”

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