Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wal-Mart added to class-action wage-theft lawsuit from contract workers

A federal judge yesterday ruled Wal-Mart can be named as a defendant in a class-action suit over wage theft. Temporary warehouse workers are charging that a Wal-Mart contractor, Schneider Logistics, cheated 1,800 workers at an Inland Empire warehouse.

Workers Indpendent News reports,
A potential class action lawsuit could determine how responsible companies need to be when it comes to third-party contract labor. calls the lawsuit "unprecedented." Here's why:
What is novel about this case (Carrillo v. Schneider Logistics) is that the workers don't work for Walmart directly. Rather, they’re part of a big, and growing, reservoir of low-wage contract workers, sometimes called "permatemps." This is the first time, the labor-lawyers say, that Walmart has been sued for work done by its contracted laborers. 
Now, the key legal question is going to be: Is it Walmart’s fault? Does Wal-mart call the shots in these contracted warehouses? 
“Walmart has the ultimate say in how the warehouse work will be conducted," says Michael Rubin, a plaintiff lawyer for the workers at the San Francisco law firm Altshuler Berzon. "The evidence shows a remarkable degree of control by Walmart. As a matter of economic reality, which is the ultimate legal test, Walmart should be held liable.” 
The Teamsters are supporting the lawsuit through Warehouse Workers United, a campaign run by our Change To Win federation.

Stay tuned.