The union representing 64 employees at Prudential Overall Supply demanded the laundry workers be reimbursed for compensation they are owed under the city’s living-wage law.

“We have to make sure Prudential pays up to its last penny what it owes its workers,” said Christina Vasquez, the international vice president for Unite Here, at a rally this afternoon.

Documents show the company openly defied the law for several months. Maria Gurrola, a worker at the company’s Chula Vista facility, filed a complaint with the city Monday alleging she had been paid $1.62 less than the living-wage law required.

Councilman Ben Hueso said he wanted the city to beef up its monitoring of the law in light of the Prudential controversy. He recommended the council examine whether Mayor Jerry Sanders has dedicated the appropriate amount of officials to properly administer the program.

“We set policy, and it needs to be administered,” Hueso said.

Unite Here has been fighting Prudential in several areas where the company is alleged to be skirting federal and municipal payroll laws. It successfully won back pay from Cintas Inc., another launderer, in 2005 after suing the company for violating the city of Hayward’s living-wage law.

Laura Moran, a research analyst with Unite Here, said the union will pursue back pay through the city’s enforcement, but that it is weighing the option of a lawsuit against Prudential.

Fred Sainz, Sanders’ spokesman, said the city is investigating the complaint.


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