Warehouse Workers Sue Wal-Mart for Back pay and Damages

PHOTO: Michael Rubin, attorney for warehouse workers, speaks at a press conference in Los Angeles.

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Attorneys representing 1,800 mostly Latino warehouse workers, who move goods for Wal-Mart, have added the company to an ongoing federal lawsuit seeking back pay and damages.

The class-action lawsuit, filed October 2011, accuses Schneider Logistics in Mira Loma, Calif. of shorting workers through an elaborate piece rate pay scheme that ultimately paid workers as little as $4.60 an hour -- even as they worked 12 to 16 hours shifts, according to attorneys.

"Wal-Mart employs a network of contractors and subcontractors who have habitually broken the law to keep their labor costs low and profit margins high," said Michael Rubin, one of the lawyers for the workers. "We believe Wal-Mart knows exactly what is happening and is ultimately responsible for stealing millions of dollars from the low-wage warehouse workers who move Wal-Mart merchandise."

Wal-Mart has previously suggested that warehouse worker concerns were baseless. Here's more from the The Nation:

'A June report from the National Employment Law Project found that Wal-Mart "is intimately involved in the daily operations of the Schneider operations, which solely move Wal-Mart goods"; Wal-Mart responded in July that it "does not have any direct contract with Schneider's subcontractors.'

More: 'Attorneys argue for including Wal-Mart as a defendant based on six legal theories, including that Wal-Mart controls the means of production and determines the terms and conditions of employment; that contractors are acting as Wal-Mart's agent; that Wal-Mart is a co-conspirator; that Wal-Mart has been negligent; and that Wal-Mart has committed unfair business practices. Attorneys said on the conference call that Wal-Mart keeps a full-time staff person in an on-site office and gives its contractor directives ranging from when to reduce staffing on a particular truck to when ink needs to be refilled in a printer."'

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