Volume 2, Issue 10
May 31st, 2014
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Walmart and its third-party warehouse services provider Schneider Logistics Trans-Loading and Distribution have settled a lawsuit for $21 million that accused them of abetting poor treatment of 1,800 temp workers in California’s Inland Empire.
The suit was brought in 2011 as part of a nationwide effort by labor unions to target warehouse providers of the retail giant after they failed to unionize Walmart directly.
This corporate campaign by union-run “worker centers” has included media events, lawsuits and the recruitment of friendly state legislators and regulators to intervene on their behalf.
This suit charged that wages were unpaid and records were not kept as required by law. Earlier this year a federal district court in California ruled that Walmart and SLTD along with the subcontractors could be held jointly liable because of the control STLD and the retailer exercised over these workers. (ACWI Advance, 3-15-14, P. 3)
The court found Walmart imposed screening requirements for all the employees, approved overall staffing levels, oversaw hours worked, monitored and enforced productivity standards, and influenced pay rates and working schedules.
Attorneys for the workers argued that they often were forced to work 16 hours a day, up to seven days a week, were denied minimum wage and overtime pay, and were not given proper breaks.
Although Walmart has not commented, Schneider stressed it contractually requires subcontractors to comply with all legal and ethical standards.
“Our customers hold us to the highest standards, and we in turn hold our vendors to the same high standards,” the company said.
“We are deeply disappointed when those third-party vendors do not live up to our standards and fail to fulfill their contractual and legal responsibilities.”
The warehouse workers earlier secured a combined settlement of $1.7 million from two subcontractor firms: Impact Logistics Inc. and Premier Warehousing Ventures.