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Workers holding sign saying
Workers in a Walmart warehouse may get $21 million in back pay, interest and penalties as part of a wage theft settlement with contractor Schneider Logistics. If you're thinking, "Wow, $21 million is a lot," you're right—and there's reason to raise an eyebrow at Schneider's willingness to pay that much as a settlement rather than taking its chances in court.

The workers and their lawyers had fought to get Walmart included as a defendant in the case, arguing that since the warehouse was dedicated entirely to Walmart products and Walmart exercises significant control over working conditions, it was, with Schneider, a joint employer of the workers. Earlier this year, a judge agreed with that argument, saying Walmart would have to go to trial. However:

... under the terms of the settlement, the full amount of the penalty falls to Schneider, the contractor. Walmart will pay nothing.

"We're obviously pleased with the proposed settlement agreement," said Kory Lundberg, a Walmart spokesman. "Schneider is the one that's solely responsible for paying the agreed upon amount."

Not only that, Walmart avoids a trial that could have found that, yes, Walmart is responsible for abuses in its warehouses. Given the size of the proposed settlement—as compared, for instance, with a $4.7 million settlement in a separate case last year—you have to wonder if Walmart put pressure on Schneider to make this case go away.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed May 14, 2014 at 12:38 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's diaries like this that I follow you. (6+ / 0-)

    This is tremendous news, but I would have liked to see Walmart take a ding on the fine. Maybe companies like Schneider Logistics will think harder when working for Walmart in the future.

    I'm not serious. Seriously.

    by IB JOHN on Wed May 14, 2014 at 12:44:27 PM PDT

    •  Doubt it. n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IB JOHN, FarWestGirl
      •  Schneider Logistics is a privately held company... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FarWestGirl, 207wickedgood

        out of Green Bay, WI. that's not even close to earning what their competitors make. 21 million in fines is a chunk for them. If Walmart is using lower echelon companies for finable deeds, why would a company not reconsider?

        I'm not serious. Seriously.

        by IB JOHN on Wed May 14, 2014 at 01:14:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Because they appear to be badly run and have (4+ / 0-)

          no interest in being better run, in my experience with the company.

          And that's all I intend to say.

        •  One reason they wouldn't consider (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kymidei, Wzrd1

          is because Walmart is covering the cost, plus a little more to keep quiet.

          "I can hire one-half of the working class to kill the other half." - Jay Gould, robber baron of the first Gilded Age.

          by cjenk415 on Fri May 16, 2014 at 12:00:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's just a guess. (0+ / 0-)

            I have no evidence to support it.

            "I can hire one-half of the working class to kill the other half." - Jay Gould, robber baron of the first Gilded Age.

            by cjenk415 on Fri May 16, 2014 at 12:01:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Hold Harmless Indemnify and Defend (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            benamery21, Kymidei

            Every contract of this type has a liability clause, typically the party with the upper hand (in this case Walmart) will require the other party (in this case Schnider) to Hold Harmless Indemnify and defend against any tort.  

            No matter the cause of action or the legal liability the contract requires that Schnider pays all of Walmart's legal bills, and the cost of any settlement. So much as the spokesman from Walmart may crow about the outcome even if they had gone to court schnider are the ones who would have paid.  I have negotiated service contracts with Walmart the clause is in every single one and is not negotiable, the only wiggle room I got was adding a gross negligence rider in legal terms and incredibly high hurdle to prove.  Enter into a contract with Walmart as a service provider and you not they are responsible no matter who is legally liable.

            there is only one reality, republicans just forget at times

            by Bloke on Fri May 16, 2014 at 02:51:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I am willing to bet (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RGalli

              That Walmart will now make a significant investment in its contractor that would cover that significant ding.
              Not going to court saved Walmart from one thing, bad PR. Something that avoiding would be worth $21 million.

    •  My only beef with settlements like this... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cybersaur, Kymidei

      in class action lawsuits is that the lawyers get to make away like bandits.. and the victims get pennies
      --Nonetheless we need more..

      "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis, 1935 --Talk of foresight--

      by tuma on Fri May 16, 2014 at 11:44:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Judges can (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tubaguy

        impose sanctions, which in this type of case would force them to pay the plaintiff's lawyers leaving them with the full payout, and cases like this, that should ALWAYS be done.  Also, all terms should be made public, no sield for the guilty parties.

    •  what I'd like to see (0+ / 0-)

      If someone steals a dollar out of the till or some cheap, plastic Chinese shit off the shelves-- they go to jail. Why is it that no one is going to jail for stealing from the workers? Do laws not apply to the rich and powerful?  
      Never mind. I already know the answer...

      +++ The law is a weapon used to bludgeon us peasants into submission. It is not to be applied to the monied elite.

      by cybersaur on Fri May 16, 2014 at 01:57:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Laws in America (0+ / 0-)

        They always crow that we are a 'nation of laws' but they only apply to certain people at certain times.  The wealthy have most of the loot from nefarious acts and have refined it by using corporations to steal money from people en masse.  Corporations bribe public officials, hire teams of lawyers, wine and dine with judges and legislators (the extra mansion in DC), and they basically subvert all of the laws, including murder in many instances.  Thievery is their specialty and many of them have a candy jar filled with drugs in their home but they are never busted.  I saw a cop faced with a decision one time as to should he go after a rich set of people who did something wrong but he said that he couldn't do that because his boss told him to arrest and harass somebody else.  In other words, they cannot arrest people that are rich because their boss told them that they couldn't, even if they did wrong.  That is because the boss at the top is rich and they are all his friends and many of them got there through hook and crook.  The worst offenders are people who inherited their money and are selfish maniacs like the Walton family and the Koch brothers!

    •  But, WalMart ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... is Schneider's ONLY client - it says as much in the diary.  So, thinking about not doing business with WalMart is, essentially, thinking about not doing business ... PERIOD!

      A good forensic accountant will likely find, if he digs deep enough, that WalMart OWNS at least a piece of Schneider.

      OF COURSE the New Right is wrong - but that doesn't make WRONG the new RIGHT!

      by mstaggerlee on Mon May 19, 2014 at 10:39:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I believe you are probably right on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, IB JOHN

    of course Walmart would like to avoid any and all publicity regarding their egregious wage practices and the FACT that their workforce is indeed subsidized by the taxpayer for SNAP, etc.

    •  wages (0+ / 0-)

      They believe that they shouldn't have to pay anything for wages and if allowed to continue without a union that is what they will be paying.  They think they are Pharaohs or something.  The government doesn't do anything to them for violating wage laws or raise the minimum wage.  They just sit there in Congress and do nothing and the Democrats talk about raising the minimum wage but nothing happens.  In addition, we need to raise more than the minimum wage - we need to raise the wages across the board for most of the people who are working today and who have been deprecated by these selfish maniacs!  Everybody that has any brains needs to unionize so that they can control their own destiny.  Big companies and wealthy people won't protect your true wage value and they can do it because they have a union and all stick together.  The only way to fight that is for workers to form unions  so that they can at least try to play on a level playing ground!

  •  Schneider Logistics should sue "up" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IB JOHN

    Meaning they sue up the chain against Walmart for damages.

    Unless the court trims the parameters of the current settlement.

    Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. -- Dr. Seuss

    by Fe Bongolan on Wed May 14, 2014 at 12:53:02 PM PDT

  •  Actually, I'm not thinking this . .. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AlexDrew, FarWestGirl

    Workers in a Walmart warehouse may get $21 million in

    back pay, interest and penalties as part of a wage theft settlement with contractor Schneider Logistics. If you're thinking, "Wow, $21 million is a lot," you're right
    Doesn't Walmart have one million employees?

    So that's something like $21 each.

    Big fucking deal.

    (or if there's something that I'm missing, more context in the diary would be useful!)

    •  This covers only about 1800 employees (0+ / 0-)

      over a 12 year period at 3 facilities in Riverside county.  So that's an average of about $12K each, for guys who were probably earning less than that annually.  I'm sure it's pro-rated so some guys will be getting more or less than this.

      Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

      by benamery21 on Wed May 14, 2014 at 07:42:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So that works out to about $80 (0+ / 0-)

        for every month someone worked at the facility, or 10 hours pay.

        Pretty significant amount of money for someone living on the edge.

        "If you defeat a thousand opponents, you still have a thousand opponents. If you change a thousand minds, you have a thousand allies"

        by Donkey Hotey on Fri May 16, 2014 at 11:45:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not to diminish the direct benefit (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DavidMS

      to the 1800-odd workers who will get checks, but this is chiefly important in laying the groundwork for additional suits at the many similar facilities, which will hopefully cause the logistics industry to do a little self-policing.  

      Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

      by benamery21 on Wed May 14, 2014 at 07:51:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  21 (0+ / 0-)

      I believe that it is just one Walmart warehouse.  I don't know how many people work in a warehouse for Walmart but it is not 1,000,000, so it may be a good wage settlement, the story doesn't really explain that part.  Besides that, Walmart can appeal and then after years you will see a back page story about it.  Wait and see and try to find out more info on it!

  •  Out of $21 Million, how much do LAWYERS get? (0+ / 0-)

    you can bet they're right there in line.
    Not saying they're not deserving, just that if they did it on contingency, that $21 million will dwindle quickly

    America's LAST HOPE: vote the GOP OUT in 2014 elections. MAKE them LOSE the House Majority and reduce their numbers in the Senate. Democrats move America forward - Republicans take us backward and are KILLING OUR NATION!

    by dagnome on Wed May 14, 2014 at 06:31:34 PM PDT

    •  Suit was brought by a non-profit (0+ / 0-)

      advocacy group, so I doubt that a lot of it will be going into individual lawyer's pockets.  Even if the center retains a fee to fund their activities, that would still redound to the benefit of the plaintiffs and similarly situated individuals.

      http://www.warehouseworkersunited.org/...

      Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

      by benamery21 on Wed May 14, 2014 at 08:13:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Great news! Thanks for posting ;-) (0+ / 0-)

        America's LAST HOPE: vote the GOP OUT in 2014 elections. MAKE them LOSE the House Majority and reduce their numbers in the Senate. Democrats move America forward - Republicans take us backward and are KILLING OUR NATION!

        by dagnome on Thu May 15, 2014 at 10:10:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  A minor victory for Wal-mart. (0+ / 0-)

    They would have (successfully) been dismissed as a defendant had it gone to trial, but it was in their best interests to have the matter settled, anyway.

    All that happened previously is that Wal-mart's motion for summary dismissal failed.

    Presumably, the difference between the $4.7 million suit earlier and the $21 million currently was simply the magnitude of the compensatory claims, since no one seems to discuss punitive damages.

  •  That's the trouble with clients (0+ / 0-)

    They'd rather get the money they need than be your ride to glory.

  •  Of course Walmart put pressure on that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    benamery21

    company to settle.  That's the basic Walmart business model:  pressure.

  •  No wondering about it. (0+ / 0-)

    Walmart has enough money to put pressure on ANYONE.  They are untouchable.

    " Armageddon could be knocking at my door. But I ain't gonna answer that's for sure." - Kristian Bush, Jennifer Nettles, Kristen Hall

    by rustypatina on Fri May 16, 2014 at 11:18:23 AM PDT

  •  Great News! (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for all your work on labor justice.

  •  I'll bet the Walton heirs are... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Donkey Hotey

    ...furiously turning over couch cushions throughout their mansions to come up with that much spare change.

    So endith the trick.

    by itsjim on Fri May 16, 2014 at 11:22:08 AM PDT

  •  I'm very glad the workers are getting relief (0+ / 0-)

    while simultaneously heartened that it would appear that Walmart very, very, very much doesn't want to do business with someone who will expose them to this kind of issue.

    Treat workers fairly, and also, don't steal from them, motherfuckers.

    For real Texas Kaos, you want texaskaos.net, not .com. Before you win, you have to fight. Come fight along with us

    by boadicea on Fri May 16, 2014 at 11:28:54 AM PDT

  •  Would the workers have received more... (0+ / 0-)

    ...if Wal-Mart had been the defendant?

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Fri May 16, 2014 at 11:30:28 AM PDT

  •  I'm (financially) lucky enough not to NEED (0+ / 0-)

    Walmart.  

    Never a dime again, you bastards!

    Once you put convenient, lethal force in the mix, liberty becomes a zero sum game. -- DIgby on open carry.

    by Rikon Snow on Fri May 16, 2014 at 11:36:04 AM PDT

  •  Like maybe Schneider is just an employee (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    benamery21

    of Walmart, too.

    "I can hire one-half of the working class to kill the other half." - Jay Gould, robber baron of the first Gilded Age.

    by cjenk415 on Fri May 16, 2014 at 11:58:43 AM PDT

  •  But, Sam's is taking a hit over at Bloommie's (0+ / 0-)

       When comparing Sam's Club to Costco - Sam's continues to lose to Costco.    Bloomberg spins it, but it is after all a Business site - and the spin is that Costco targets a different category of consumers.    Costco attracts a higher salary group of consumers, etc.

        Now I don't have data, but I did opt out of Sam's and joined Costco...so does that mean that I automatically joined a higher salary group?   No, of course not.   But that is the spin.  

  •  hip hip (0+ / 0-)

    hooray!!!!!

  •  What does the Catholic Church and (0+ / 0-)

    Walmart have in common??

    Answer....All little boys pants are 1/2 OFF!!

  •  Who.... (0+ / 0-)
    you have to wonder if Walmart put pressure on Schneider to make this case go away.
    would have to wonder or was this just snark? :)  

    No one has to wonder, except maybe the most gullible persons on the planet, OHHHHhhhhh....  I get it, most Americans that watch Faux Noise would have to wonder....  Now I understand....  At first I didn't get it....

  •  Don't worry we'll take care of you... (0+ / 0-)

    just make it go away!

  •  I am sick and tired of paying the portion of (0+ / 0-)

    worker's wages Walmart does not see fit to pay.

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