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Workers holding sign saying "Warehouses of Walmart stealing wages for low prices. Stolen wages at Schneider is Walmart's dirty little secret."
Workers in one of Walmart's largest contracted warehouses are getting a major settlement after years of wage theft by Schneider Logistics, the company that runs the warehouse for Walmart. A $4.7 million preliminary settlement will go to 568 workers who sued over wage and hour violations that ran the gamut:
A detailed review of workers’ time cards exposed that supervisors consistently changed employee time cards and workers regularly did not take legally required breaks. According to an expert’s analysis of 216,281 shifts, supervisors shaved employees’ time for 12,873 such shifts, or 5.95% of shifts. With respect to meal breaks, the analysis showed that 4,194 meal start times moved; 11,030 meal end times moved; 4,299 meals were edited to qualify as 30-minute breaks; and 4,316 meals were entirely added.

The same analysis also showed that out of 56,450 shifts in which employees worked between 10-12 hours, in 56,431 of them, or 99.96%, employees did not take a second 30-minute meal period.

Walmart is not the workers' direct employer, but the warehouse complex in which they work is dedicated entirely to Walmart products, Walmart is part owner of two of the three buildings in the complex, and Schneider Logistics is a major Walmart contractor. A judge has allowed Walmart to be made a defendant in another pending lawsuit—this one dealing with workers employed by temporary staffing agencies while working in the Schneider-Walmart warehouses.

Walmart often tries to keep its worst practices at a remove, insisting "we're not involved, it's our contractors breaking these laws." Yet, even if "we're not paying attention to whether our contractors obey the law" was really an acceptable excuse, time and again we see that Walmart is very actively involved in the warehouses and factories it claims to have little to do with. Lawsuits and settlements like this $4.7 million raise the cost of that slightly, but much much more needs to be done to make Walmart pay for its past and present abuses and to make it pay a fair and legal wage going forward.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 10:52 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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