Laid off Haggen employee says she hasn't been paid out key benefits

SAN DIEGO - Haggen is checking out of San Diego after less than a year here.

But the company may also be short-changing some of its former employees.

”It’s just like a ghost, a ghost company,” said Cynthia Garcia, who was recently laid off by Haggen. "I didn't feel like they wanted to succeed in life, to succeed in the business."

For 32 years, Garcia worked at the Albertson’s in San Ysidro.

The store became Haggen after Safeway/Vons and Albertson's merged. They had to sell off more than 100 stores.

Haggen quickly failed to win over shoppers.

”The pricing was very wrong, very high for the community, San Ysidro,” Garcia said.

As Haggen leaves, Garcia's now out more than just a job.

Her health benefits expired over the weekend, full union retirement benefits are at risk, and she says Haggen stiffed her on more than 100 hours of vacation pay.

”I was going to retire from the company, and what they did was very unfair,” Garcia said.

Haggen didn’t respond to calls from 10News.

RELATED: Bids submitted to purchase defunct Haggen stores

The grocer’s exit from San Diego leaves behind hundreds of workers looking for new jobs.

Now efforts are underway to get them new opportunities.

Representatives from Target, Sam's Club and Walmart attended a hiring fair for Haggen workers at the South Metro Career Center on Monday.  

Katrina Meredith of the San Diego Workforce Partnership said a speedy solution is important for more than just the workers.

“With such a big layoff you're looking at it affecting the economy of San Diego,” she said.

Garcia says she's looking for a new job, and has no guarantees she would be rehired if the Haggen she worked at reopened. But she's not done with Haggen when it comes to getting what she's owed.

”Oh,” she said. “I’m going to get my money.”

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