There are some big changes coming to the Inland Empire, thanks to the organizing efforts of and solidarity of workers in Walmart contracted warehouses. Last October, after working in scorching heat with no breaks for hours on end, roughly 100 workers at a major Walmart contracted warehouse took legal action against Schneider Logistics after noticing wages were being stolen from their paychecks. The action prompted a notice to terminate the workers en masse, a discharge that was scheduled to take effect on February 24th, and a series of legal battles in which a California District Court barred the Walmart contractor from firing the workers.
After weeks of legal wrangling, uncertainty and some tough-as-nails nerves waiting to hear whether the Walmart agent would comply with the court’s ruling, Schneider Logistics agreed to follow the court’s order and keep the workers on a full-time basis, converting them to hourly pay (throwing out the legally problematic “piece rate” system that was at the core of the workers’ wage theft complaints) and giving them a wage increase and eligibility for benefits, a huge victory that will have national implications for workers’ rights.
This is just the beginning. The workers will continue to call for a responsible contractor policy from Walmart, and will continue to work towards creating good jobs where workers can have their voices heard. For today, congratulations to the workers, who stuck together and won direct employment in the face of blatant retaliation!