Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Schneider Logistics Inc., have agreed to a settlement for $21 million for federal and state-level wage and hour violations committed at a Walmart warehouse facility in western Riverside County, Calif.
Under the terms of the settlement, Schneider will pay the entire $21 million in unpaid wages, interest and penalties for major wage and hour violations covering over a decade at the dedicated Wal-Mart facility. The settlement does not say if Wal-Mart will contribute to the settlement behind the scenes. Both Walmart and Schneider secured complete releases as part of the settlement.
The settlement applies to more than 1,800 workers who worked between 2001 and 2013 at three 100% Walmart-dedicated Schneider Logistics distribution centers in Mira Loma (Riverside County), Calif., in the case Carrillo vs. Schneider Logistics et al. The facilities, operated by various warehouse companies for Wal-Mart since 2001, function together as the largest Walmart distribution center in the Western U.S.
According BerlinRosen, a public affairs firm representing union interests, the suit alleged major wage theft occurring over 10 years against “lumpers”-workers who load and unload boxes by hand from shipping containers and into trailers for Walmart. The workers, directly employed by loading/unloading companies Impact Logistics, Inc. and Rogers-Premier Loading and Unloading Services and/or Premier Warehousing Ventures, often worked double shifts –16 hours/day, 7 days per week with no required breaks or overtime premiums, and often for less than minimum wage. The workers allege they were instead paid by an elaborate piece rate that was found to be illegal and changed quickly after the suit was filed in November 2011.
In January, Federal Judge Christina Snyder ruled that Walmart would have to face trial as a potential joint employer, the first time a retailer would have had to stand trial for the actions of its warehouse contractors. Walmart had maintained that it had no control over these workers, but plaintiffs’ counsel argued that the presence of up to a dozen Walmart managers on site and the daily control over the work at every level made them both aware of and liable for wage and hour violations at the warehouse.