We all know what a joy it is to work for Mao-Mart. Forced working off the clock, prohibitively expensive medical insurance, a leaded glass ceiling for women… the ways Mao-Mart finds to screw its employees are almost never-ending.
Knowing what a shit deal an actual employee of Mao-Mart can expect to get, it comes as no surprise that people who work as seasonal temps get aparticularly nasty deal. The only surprise here is that they aren’t chained up in the warehouse on their “off-hours.”
Granted, these aren’t people who are employed directly by Mao-Mart, but neither are the de facto slaves working in Chinese sweatshops to churn out Mao-Mart products. Mao-Mart is as guilty of this as the companies doing the actual screwing are. The Mao-Mart corporate practices absolutely encourage this type of thing.
Meanwhile workers in Walmart’s warehouses in Chicago and southern California charge that the logistics companies contracted by the mega-retailer are nickel-and-diming them, shaving dollars off their hourly wages as temporary workers and obscuring the practice by failing to give them accurate pay stubs.
This lawsuit charges that at least 18 workers at a warehouse in suburban Elwood realized once they were paid that they got less than promised and in fact less than minimum wage from the company Eclipse Advantage. This week workers marched to Eclipse offices demanding its billing and payment records so they can figure out exactly how much they are owed.
Shoddy record-keeping and incomplete or non-existent paystubs are a common complaint in the industry, where workers are often not even sure what company exactly they are working for and what their official pay rate is. The lawsuit also names Mid-West Temp Group Inc. Some workers were hired by Mid-West to work for Eclipse, others were hired directly by Eclipse. Multiple levels of subcontractors are another common facet of the warehousing industry.
The lawsuit complaint notes that workers were promised $9.25 to $10 an hour plus a productivity bonus, but realized once they got checks that they were paid for substantially fewer hours than they had actually worked, bringing their de facto hourly wage way down. The suit charges they were also promised paid vacation — a recruitment tactic during the busy holiday season – but were never granted paid leave.
The lawsuit charges the companies violated state and federal labor law and the Illinois Day and Temporary Labor Services Act, one of the strongest such state laws in the country. Among other things the complaint charges that workers were hired and paid for less than four hours at a stretch – the state temporary labor law mandates workers must receive payment for shifts of at least four hours at a time.
The complaint states:
Defendants failed to pay Plaintiffs and other laborers a minimum of four hours “show up pay” on days when they were contracted to work but not utilized for a minimum of four hours and failed to pay Plaintiffs and other laborers vacation pay that they had earned and accrued pursuant to Illinois law and Defendants had promised them to induce them to work for Defendants instead of working for other staffing agencies.
In a press release worker Roberto Gutierrez said:
I worked twenty-one hours for Eclipse my first week and I was paid fifty-seven dollars for it… The company says I only worked twelve hours, but even by their logic I was still paid less than minimum wage. That’s never right, especially so close to the holidays, that’s why we came together and filed this, to put a stop to it.
I say this again; Mao-Mart is absolutely responsible for the behavior of their suppliers. Mao-Mart is constantly squeezing their suppliers until blood flows because their size means that they CAN. They can do this to people and still have plausible deniability for their actions.
Mao-Mart has been a disaster for everyone save the Walton family. It’s way past time to start enforcing antitrust laws, and I mean vigorously enforcing them.