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A Kroger executive and three former managers of its Southern California subsidiary Ralph's pleaded not guilty Monday to federal labor fraud charges linked to the 2003-04 supermarket strike.
A 23-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles accuses the defendants of conspiring to rehire locked-out workers using fake Social Security numbers and identification during the strike.
The Los Angeles Times reported that a trial date of Dec. 23 has been set for Kroger v.p. Scott Drew, and former Ralph's managers Karen Montoya, Charles Vance, and Randall Kruska. If convicted on all charges, they could face up to 30 years in prison in addition to fines.
The 4-month supermarket strike and lockout began October 2003 when union leaders ordered a strike against Vons and Pavilions stores. Albertsons and Ralphs responded by locking out their employees.