Saturday, December 27, 2008

Good News for Wal-Mart Workers

The super retail store has agreed to pay $352 million to $640 million to make 63 wage-and-hour class-action lawsuits filed across the nation disappear.  Workers accused Wal-Mart, Inc. of forcing them to work through breaks and while off the clock.

As part of the settlements announced Tuesday, Wal-Mart agreed to continue to use various electronic systems and other methods to maintain compliance with its wage and hour policies and applicable law.

Tom Mars, executive vice president and general counsel, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. said, “Many of these lawsuits were filed years ago and the allegations are not representative of the company we are today … Our policy is to pay associates for every hour worked and to provide rest and meal breaks.”

But the settlements won’t end Wal-Mart’s problems. According to Wal-Mart Watch, a campaign that works to make the company a better employer, neighbor and corporate citizen, it is currently facing the largest workplace-bias lawsuit in U.S. history for widespread discrimination against women employees; a class action lawsuit filed by Black truck drivers; and numerous other cases involving discrimination against workers with disabilities.

In addition, Wal-Mart Watch charges, despite numerous tweaks to its health care plan, Wal-Mart employees have to pay unnecessary charges and fees, wait longer for coverage eligibility and are forced to use public health programs for health care needs.

Wal-Mart Watch’s Executive Director David Nassar responded to the settlement:

“Wal-Mart is scared and is throwing dead weight overboard to lighten its load. The company’s decision to settle these cases so suddenly is clearly driven by the knowledge that having such cases pending is strong evidence for the need for the Employee Free Choice Act.

“If these millions of workers had been allowed union representation, they never would have had to hire lawyers and wait years to get their paychecks.

“Unfortunately for Wal-Mart, there is no lack of evidence that the company mistreats its employees. As if 63 wage and hour lawsuits aren’t proof enough, every day new stories of worker mistreatment are posted on Since October, hundreds of Wal-Mart Workers have submitted such stories and videos to Wal-Mart Watch, and others will be ready to testify before congress when the time is right.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They got to read (if they were capable of reading) the hiring agreement. No one forced them to work there. If Wal-Mart wasn't kind enough to lower their hiring standards considerably (specifically catering to "less employable" people) these people would never have managed to get a job there in the first place.

The issue isn't if they have 20 starving kids and no money or not, no one MADE them take the job. The second they *took* the job offered to them though they should have considered themselves bloody well lucky to have even a sub-par job instead of crying "woe is me" and filing a lawsuit.

They could have walked away if the hiring terms were unsatisfactory. People do it all the time. But "sue the company" is the new scratch off lottery ticket for the lazy and illiterate masses.

It's good to know that people now think that in the USA if you never do anything to better yourself, never get and education, or never actually apply yourself in life that you should be able to cry wolf and get a free ride instead.