Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was hit with another lawsuit this week over alleged wage and overtime infractions between two staffing agencies that placed several hundred temporary workers in the Chicago metro area dating back to 2009.
The suit was filed Monday in an Illinois federal court and is a proposed class action.
The two staffing agencies named in the suit are Labor Ready of Chicago and and QPS, a Milwaukee-based firm. Both of these agencies Wal-Mart used in the Chicago area failed to provide workers assigned to stores with required employment information, according to the filing.
The suit also claims that Wal-Mart failed to keep accurate records of workers' time which has made it difficult to prove worker claims that they were underpaid according to state labor laws.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union says the alleged violations occurred beginning in early 2009 and continue today. The union also provides support to OUR Walmart, a group of employees past and present, who are asking for better wages and working conditions.
The lawsuit seeks all unpaid wages for the workers and calls for an injunction against Wal-Mart and its temporary agencies preventing them from future violations of state labor law
Wal-Mart said it was looking into the matter.
“We’re still reviewing the complaint but, based on the UFCW’s press release, one thing is clear: This litigation is being driven by the same union organizations that have been mischaracterizing several issues about Walmart and are more concerned with creating publicity than with improving workers’ rights. We are committed to ensuring that anyone working in our stores – whether they’re employed by Walmart or, in this case, a temporary staffing agency – is treated appropriately and compensated fairly for every hour they work,” Wal-Mart spokesman Dan Fogleman noted in an e-mail statement.
Wage and employee uprisings are nothing new for the mega retailer who has been vocal about its non-union stance as the world’s largest employer with roughly 1.3 million people on the payroll.
As Wal-Mart continues to celebrate its Golden Anniversary and record profits amid a soaring stock price, protesters have been busy plotting their next move. Most recently protesters rallied at the company’s annual analyst meeting earlier this month. The protestors set up at Store No. 1 in Rogers and at the Bentonville home office. Next on their agenda is staging a walk-out on the largest shopping day of the year – Black Friday.
These protest actions are sponsored by organizations like OUR Walmart. The recent demonstration involved about 200 workers, but the group hopes to attract a larger following ahead of the Nov. 23 target date.
Wal-Mart says publicly that it’s excited about what’s in store for customers on Black Friday in terms of great merchandise and unbeatable prices.
“We’ll be open for business and ready to take care of our customers,” Fogleman said.
Internal communications indicate the retailer is busy planning around any threat of disruption as store managers and corporate liaisons have been told it’s all hands on deck, without exception.