Workers Protest Bissell in Response to Mass Firing

November 6th, 2009 Warehouse Workers for Justice

Employees at the Bissell warehouse near Joliet, arrived to work at 6am today only to be informed they were all fired, but not before they trained their replacements.

Workers were fired en masse after filing legal complaints and charges last week over the many violations of state and federal law in the warehouse. On Thursday October 29th workers notified management that they had formed a union.

"This company has no respect for our rights. We will fight to force Bissell and Maersk to follow the law and treat workers with dignity," said Daniel Millan a forklift driver at the Bissell facility. "I will not accept losing my job because I stood up for my rights."

Update: Workers protested again today (11/12) in full force. View photos.

The warehouse has been using an unlicensed temporary employment agency that had repeatedly violated many state and federal laws, including paying some workers less than minimum wage. Workers also cited racial discrimination, unpaid wages and threats of retaliation for bringing these issues to management's attention..

Workers have complained that Bissell Homecare, via their management company and temporary employment provider violated various state and federal laws including the Fair Labor Standards Act which governs minimum wage, the Day Labor And Temporary Services Act, a state law that regulates temporary employment agencies, and the National Labor Relations Act, which governs workers right to association and organization, and the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race..

The Bissell warehouse, managed by Maersk Logistics, opened in January 2009 and is part of the expanding distribution industry in Chicago's suburbs. It supplies Bissell vacuum cleaners to big box retailers including Walmart, Kohl's and Target.

In Pictures:

Justice at Bissell/ Maersk/ Roadlink!

Justice at Bissell/ Maersk/ Roadlink!

Justice at Bissell/ Maersk/ Roadlink!

See more photos from Bissell on our blog.