WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) -- Until the past few months, Gabriel Rivera says he really enjoyed his job as a custodian at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he's worked for the past few years.
Then he says his employer, Escab, which has a contract for janitorial services at Walter Reed, stopped paying him and roughly two hundred of his colleagues, prompting a protest that eventually resolved the problem.
But now, just a few weeks later, Rivera says he learned that Escab has not been contributing to its employees' union health or pension plans for the past four months, as they're required to.
"Trust me, it is a mess," Rivera said.
Jaime Contreras is vice-president of SEIU 32BJ, the union representing about 300 Escab workers at Walter Reed and at the Internal Revenue Service headquarters. He says the union has been paying the employee health benefits that should have been paid by Escab, a total of about $800,000, but they won't be able to keep paying indefinitely.
As a result, the union is now suing Escab to get back the $800,000 and to force them to make the required payments in the future.
"The company has not said how or when they're going to pay this money, which is a lot," Contreras said.