Mira Loma, Calif. – Today, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued an unprecedented order against Walmart contractors Schneider Logistics and Rogers-Premier Unloading Services for threatening to discharge workers en masse in retaliation for the workers’ efforts to vindicate their rights in a federal class action lawsuit. The workers won a federal restraining order prohibiting Schneider from implementing the announced mass discharge, which had been scheduled to take effect on February 24th.
“We are very encouraged that the federal judge told Schneider they couldn’t kick us to the curb for trying to get the wages that we are owed,” said Jose Tejeda, a warehouse worker. “Hopefully this is the beginning of changing this system Walmart has created of warehouse contractors who abuse workers.”
In October 2011, workers jointly employed by Schneider and Rogers Premier at the Walmart-dedicated facility filed suit in Federal court to recover years of stolen wages. Workers who load and unload containers of Walmart goods, many of whom have worked at these warehouses for years, had been paid less than legal minimums, had not been paid overtime, were not paid for lunch breaks, and were forced to work hours for which they were not paid. The workers were also cooperating with the investigation of the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement, which raided these Walmart-contracted warehouses last October and issued citations for more than $1 million in recordkeeping violations alone. Subsequent to the filing of the lawsuit, Rogers announced the workers would be terminated February 24, 2012. At the same time, as explained by sworn declarations filed by the Court, Schneider gathered a group of warehouse workers together and threatened to “destroy” any warehouse worker who supported efforts to vindicate their rights.
In its ruling, the Court agreed with the workers’ view that Schneider and Rogers Premier initiated this mass discharge in retaliation for the workers’ exercise of their rights and issued an order requiring Schneider to revoke the mass terminations.
The workers, their legal representatives and a representative from Warehouse Workers United will participate in a telephonic press briefing on Thursday, February 2nd to report what this court order means for their efforts, what it means for Walmart and the logistics industry and the next steps they will be taking in order to stand up for warehouse workers’ rights.