Archive for November 2011
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A group of Illinois warehouse workers has accused two staffing firms of failing to pay employees for the hours they worked.
The alleged “wage theft” occurred at a Wal-Mart warehouse in far southwest suburban Elwood. Orlando, Fla.-based Eclipse Advantage, the staffing firm that hired the workers, was named in the suit, along with Midwest Temp Group Inc., which has office in New Lenox and Bolingbrook.
Wal-Mart was not named in the lawsuit.
Both temp companies are accused of violating the Illinois Day and Temporary Services Act.
Elwood workers claim that Eclipse Advantage promised they would be paid minimum wage, which is $8.25 an hour in Illinois, and given the ability to earn a bonus. But their paychecks, the suit said, failed to match the actual hours employees worked and did not equal minimum wage.
“If the allegations are accurate, we will require our contractor to take appropriate action immediately,” a Wal-Mart spokesman said.
The suit was filed on behalf of the warehouse employees Nov. 18 in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois by Warehouse Workers for Justice, a Chicago-based organization founded in 2008 by the United Electrical Workers. Warehouse Workers for Justice has filed three similar suits against Wal-Mart in the past two years.
By Laura Clawson
Chicago is a massive hub for warehouses and distribution centers handling goods for chains like Walmart, Home Depot, Target and more. Railroads and interstate highways come together there, making it a perfect location for, at this point, half a billion square feet of warehouse space, staffed by around 150,000 warehouse workers. As you might guess, those workers don’t fare so well on wages, benefits, working conditions or general treatment. It’s not like Walmart treats its own directly employed workers acceptably to begin with, let alone when it has the plausible deniability of the jobs being subcontracted. Then they rely on us to figure that abuses are all the subcontractor’s fault, or just not to pay attention to abuses at some company we never heard of.
In These Times
By Kari Lydersen
With Black Friday sales beginning Thanksgiving at 10 p.m., Walmart expects to bring in many millions in sales this week on the single most important shopping day of the year.
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.
On November 19 the group Warehouse Workers for Justice helped workers file their fourth class action lawsuit since 2009 against companies that operate Walmart warehouses in the Chicago area.
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.
Elgin, Ill. – Workers at a WalMart warehouse in southwest suburban Elmwood filed a federal lawsuit Friday saying that they were not paid for the hours they worked or a minimum hourly wage rate.
Eighteen workers claim in the suit that when Eclipse Advantage hired them as temporary employees they were promised a minimum hourly wage rate, with a potential to earn more based on a productivity bonus, according to a release from the Warehouse Workers for Justice, a Joliet-based worker’s center which aids warehouse workers.
By Curtis Black
A fourth lawsuit alleging wage theft at a Wal-Mart warehouse in Will County was filed in federal court November 18.
Workers hired by Eclipse Advantage to staff Wal-Mart’s warehouse in Ellwood, Illinois, charge they were paid less than minimum wage or shorted on their hours – and in some cases both.
“I worked 21 hours for Eclipse my first week and was paid $57 for it,” said Roberto Gutierrez. “The company says I only worked 12 hours, by even by their logic I was still paid less than minimum wage.
Warehouse Workers for Justice led dozens of warehouse workers who demonstrated at the Wal-Mart warehouse Monday, demanding that payment records be released.
The suit is the fourth filed by WWJ on behalf of Wal-mart warehouse workers since 2009. The other suits are pending.