A group of warehouse workers is about to receive a raise of about 60 percent.
“I haven’t received my first paycheck just yet, but it will be about double,” said Reynaldo Ríos Ibañez, who has worked at the warehouse since October 2011. “It means it will be easier to take care of my family. Before I could not buy one single extra thing.”
Reynaldo and his sister, also a warehouse worker in the Inland Empire, support their parents and two other sisters.
The good news is the latest in a string of positive developments relating to a federal lawsuit to recover millions in stolen wages for about 1,800 warehouse workers at a Walmart-controlled warehouse in Riverside County, California.
About 75 warehouse workers were hired directly by logistics firm Schneider, the national company contracted by Walmart to operate the three-building facility, earlier this month. The workers previously worked for Impact Logistics, a temporary staffing agency. Most were paid about $8.50 an hour with no benefits.
“I work the night shift so now I am making $13.90 an hour with health benefits and sick time. After six months we will have five vacation days. We all feel good and we are happy,” said Ríos Ibañez.
All of the workers who had been working for Impact elected to continue their employment at the warehouses. The switch from a temporary staffing agency to a permanent position means more job security at better pay with benefits.
“This demonstrates that the minute the staffing agencies were forced to comply with the law they began losing money because they could no longer cut corners,” said Guadalupe Palma, director of Warehouse Workers United. “But the fact that now all workers at this critical Walmart-contracted warehouses will make a living wage with benefits shows that improving the quality of warehousing jobs is entirely within reach for major retailers like Walmart.”
In Feb. 2012, the U.S. District Court issued an order against Walmart contractors Schneider Logistics and Rogers-Premier Unloading Services prohibiting a mass discharge of workers. The group of warehouse workers, who worked for Rogers-Premier, were then offered jobs directly with Schneider. The elimination of Impact Logistics means there are no more temporary staffing agencies at the warehouse.
In October 2011, workers who were jointly employed at the Walmart warehouses by Schneider Logistics, Inc., Premier Warehousing Ventures and Impact Logistics, filed Carrillo v. Schneider, to recover back pay, penalties, and damages. Their lawsuit alleges that the workers who load and unload Walmart’s truck containers, many of whom have worked at these warehouses for years, were routinely forced to work off the clock, denied legally required overtime pay, and retaliated against when they tried to assert their legal rights, or even asked how their paychecks had been calculated. In January, Judge Christina Snyder ruled Walmart could be added as a defendant in the lawsuit.
The California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement raided the Walmart-contracted warehouses in October 2011 and issued citations for civil fines totaling more than $1 million for inadequate recordkeeping alone.