Workers sue Fred Meyer for unpaid wages

By COLIN STAUB

Kroger is planning to buy competitor Albertsons for $24.6 billion. But the grocery monolith can’t seem to find the cash to pay its workers.

Since September, workers at Kroger subsidiary Fred Meyer have reported discrepancies in the hours they work, versus the hours they’re paid for. Now the complaints have reached the courtroom. On Nov. 17, attorney Richard Myers of Bennett Hartman filed a class-action lawsuit against Fred Meyer on behalf of two workers. Filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, the lawsuit explains that Fred Meyer began using a new payroll software system in September. Since then, workers have had missing or late paychecks, been paid incorrect wages, had their hours incorrectly recorded, had incorrect deductions from their paychecks, seen direct deposits get canceled, and more.

Those workers include plaintiffs Samantha Woody, who worked in e-commerce at Fred Meyer’s Raleigh Hills location until the end of October, and Nicole Urvina, a current employee in the meat department at the Medford store.

The problems went on long enough that some workers went weeks without being paid, according to the lawsuit.

Fred Meyer’s immediate solution was to issue prepaid debit cards to workers who were most underpaid by the payroll errors. But according to the lawsuit, even those debit cards were full of problems. Some didn’t have the full amount of what the worker was owed. 

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555—which represents Fred Meyer grocery and retail employees—criticized the troubled debit card “fix.” In a Nov. 17 statement, the union described Fred Meyer paying one worker with a $500 prepaid card, to fix a paycheck error. But the worker soon discovered the card only had $250 prepaid.

“Even when trying to fix their outrageous mistakes with band-aid remedies, they mess up,” Local 555 spokesperson Miles Eshaia said in the statement.

The class-action lawsuit seeks to recover all lost wages and to compel Fred Meyer to pay 9% interest on the unpaid wages. For workers who left the job and still haven’t been paid for time worked, the lawsuit seeks back wages, interest and penalty wages equivalent to 30 days of work at eight hours per day. The lawsuit also asks that Fred Meyer be ordered to pay either $200 per instance of improperly withheld wages, or actual damages arising from that withholding. (Many workers have had to get payday loans because of Fred Meyer’s unpaid wages, plaintiffs allege in the lawsuit).

Fred Meyer management confirmed to The Oregonian that the payroll system caused problems, saying that it affected about 1% of its 40,000 workers in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska.

Locally, the payroll problems have impacted workers represented by UFCW Local 555, BCTGM Local 114 and Teamsters Local 206.

8 Comments

  1. We still have employees not getting paid. Being told the company can’t cut them a check cause the union won’t let them and telling the union they can’t for “legal reasons” and won’t state the reasons. This is happening still, many employees at more still did not get paid this week.

  2. I worked at store 348 Nevada and was hired and worked 1221/2 hrs and never got paid! I finally quit to look for work elsewhere . I recieved email saying they r trying to fix the problem meanwhile I am surviving with the help of family paying my bills. I still have not got paid
    Esther Johnston

  3. I work at store 688 I thibk its in eagle river Alaska. I’m still working for them.but I’m still missing my first 4 checks and was given gift catfs 7 weeks ago also but they o ly lasted so long. I beleve the store owes me around 2,000 and I’m struggling with out that money exp during the holidays…. what can I do?

  4. I work for Kroger in Groveland FL and I recently became a victim of not receiving a paycheck. HR told me there was nothing they could do but wait and see what happens. They never offered me a gift card nor anything to help ease the pain of not getting paid. Corporate didn’t help either and now I’m without pay for god knows how long

  5. I didnt receive 1 paycheck in oct. 2022 i kept being told next week. And well we are trying to find out how this happened then we will reissue checks. I didnt get paid until nov. How did the expect people to survive?

  6. My life partner has not been paid correctly since he began work at our local Kroger in CO. One check even bounced. When brought to the attention of management, they do absolutely nothing. They haven’t replied to the Union yet either. I know workers from Venezuela who are legally here on TPS status who are afraid to do anything for fear of retaliation from USCIS. So basically Kroger continues to harm immigrants who are here legally paying taxes and working hard but not getting paid correctly or in a timely manner.

  7. I have been fighting with Kroger Corporate, Hr from every district and now the HR help desk hangs up on you for inquiring about your paycheck that has been unpaid to me since Nov 20th till the 26th. Excuses after excuses with no time frame to pay you. Fred Meyers store 179

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