A Los Angeles federal grand jury indicted several former Ralphs Grocery Co. employees Friday for conspiring to rehire hundreds of locked-out employees under false names and social security numbers during the Southern California grocery workers strike.

The indictment alleges that the rehiring of locked out workers was intended to better Ralph's position in the labor dispute, which began in 2003 when Ralphs locked out its employees after members of the United Food and Commercial Workers voted to strike Safeway's Vons and Pavilions chains.

Named in the indictment were former employees Scott Drew, a vice president of Ralphs' parent company Kroger Co.; Patrick McGowan, a Ralphs vice president; Charles Vance and Randall Kruska, Ralphs zone managers; and Karen Montoya, a Ralphs district manager. They are charged with falsifying the employment records of hundreds of locked out employees.

The grand jury also returned a separate indictment against two former and one current store manager, who allegedly made false statements to investigators.

Ohio-based Kroger owns Ralphs, which operates 262 supermarkets in Southern California. In 2006, the company agreed to pay $70 million and settled charges that it illegally rehired locked-out employees during the strike.

"These indictments do not change the terms of the 2006 settlement agreement between Ralphs and the U.S. Attorney's Office," Ralphs said in a statement. "However, under that agreement, the U.S. Attorney's Office was not prohibited from continuing its investigation of any current or former employees."

The defendants are scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles for arraignment next month.

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