Home > Uncategorized > Walmart Supply Chain Agencies Accused of Wage Theft

Walmart Supply Chain Agencies Accused of Wage Theft

From the Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/oct/18/walmart-supply-chain-agencies-accused-wage-theft

Critics say it is a labour market reminiscent of countries like China, yet it exists here in the American heartland of the Midwest.

But Bailey and many other Walmart warehouse workers say they have to endure an especially shocking hardship: wage theft. Already very low-paid, they allege their pay packets are sometimes skimmed and squeezed by the staffing agencies subcontracted to employ them.

“They prey on people living in precarious marginal circumstances. People living on the edge. If that was not the case, they could not do what they do,” Bailey said.

  1. Mitch
    October 19, 2012 at 11:26 am

    This article is an excellent example of how the system works today. No conspiracy need be theorized.

    Walmart demands low prices from suppliers, to serve its customers, who buy from Walmart because they want low prices.

    Walmart keeps its executives hands clean, generally, by outsourcing all sleazy tasks.

    The warehouse is run by a subcontractor that is not located in most communities that have Walmarts. The subcontractor constantly has to reduce prices, so the subcontractor squeezes the sub-subs.

    At the bottom of the stack are the workers for the sub-sub-sub-to-the-nth-subcontractor, which is a fly-by-night outfit that can only break even by ripping off its workers, who are largely transient and essentially without political power.

    They make very little, so they shop at Walmart. Why? Lowest prices around.

    The circle is complete. Walmart’s owners and executives do well, and get congratulated all around when they run a benevolent foundation or start a museum or lecture at the b-school on efficiencies in the marketplace. It’s aristocracy in spades and, in California, many of the aristocrats are so, so, nice, voting Democratic and everything.

    One missing element are the “libertarian politicians,” who take this offal, wrap it up under cellophane to keep the smell from leaking, and call it “the free market,” while whining about the 47% of Americans who just won’t take personal responsibility.

    And another, of course, is the offshore outsourcing of all manufacturing, to prevent first world standards for labor being applied to the products being sold to first world workers whose jobs have been moved to the “developing” world. Everybody’s careful to call it “developing” rather than “third world.” Politeness is important, donchaknow.

  2. WhatNow
    October 19, 2012 at 11:30 am

    The same conniving occured at the local seafood processing plant, Mitch.
    Welcome to The United Corporate States of America;the western hemisphere’s northern most bannana republic.

  3. Mitch
    October 19, 2012 at 11:35 am

    No surprise, What Now. Nor is there a surprise that I haven’t read about that in the noble local “free press.” This is the system. It’s not new, it’s just reached new lows. I used to have hopes that it could be changed non-violently. I’m still against violence, but those hopes are gone. Still, it’s possible to reduce the stench somewhat. (I should be clear that I think violent change, while likely in the next decade or two, will just make things worse, though people won’t realize that at first.)

  4. WhatNow
    October 19, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    I’m afraid I agree with your post, #3 above, Mitch.
    Most “populst” movements in the U.S., even during “liberal” swings have carried a heavy dose of racist,reactionary dogma.
    The last 2 generations have been thoroughly inculcated with values that 10-20 years ago would have been repugnant to most citizens.
    An ill-informed and poorly educated populace with the attention span of a 5 second radio spot and primal cravings for more bread and circuses is certyainly not fertle ground for positive social change

  5. Mitch
    October 19, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Which doesn’t, of course, mean you stop trying. It just means you try with open eyes, and accept that sometimes, action is required even when positive outcomes are unlikely. Because we have no individual choice w/r/t outcomes — only w/r/t efforts.

  6. FUUHC
    October 19, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    whaaaaa! its called free enterprise, survival of the fittest. those workers got payd what the deservd to be paid, walmart is agresive on wages and costs so they can give us low prices always, piersons be paying there werkers way too much. high fi has tried to splain this to you,

  7. Mitch
    October 19, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    FUUHC,

    You’re completely right.

    What mystifies me is why a Walmart warehouse worker living in an American shantytown produces so little value that Mitt Romney can earn that worker’s entire annual pay in just one minute of his time, while sleeping!

    It’s pretty clear that some of us are just not trying very hard, not that I’m about to name names.

  8. Anonymous
    October 19, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Circle jerk

  9. Mitch
    October 20, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Circle jerk interruptus.

  10. HUUFC
    October 20, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Good grief, if you don’t like Wal-Mart don’t shop there, get your Chinese stuff at Piersons.

  11. October 20, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Good grief, if you don’t like shopping at Walmart just wait, because after they have crushed the competitiion you won’t have to worry any more about this shopping decision. SlaveMart will be the ONLY olace to shop.

    Time for the real local small businesses to wake up and smell the demise of the local economy. How many stores have closed this month? It is Walmarts stated business philosopy to CRUSH the local competition, not only direct retail competitors, but the vertical supply infrastructure as well. (Sams Club wholesale.) The hollow out the entire local business economy. That is their business ethic.

    Make Slavemart pay $12.00 an hour and level the playing field for local businesses. Sign and support the Eureka Fair Wage Act.

  12. notafan
    October 20, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Mitch, because you have a slated bias. You are unable to understand anything that does not fit into your limited perception. That they left you in charge of this blog shows that they have given up.

  13. Mitch
    October 20, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Thanks, notafan, but I’m not “in charge of this blog.” I’m also not sure what a “slated bias” is, so it’s hard to tell why pointing out that a brain-dead Congressman is brain-dead is an example of it. Believe me, when the Democrats start denying evolution and coming up with novel, fantasy-based theories of women’s secretions and medical magic, I’ll be only too happy to call them brain-dead. (Oops, wrong thread. Believe me, when Pierson’s starts treating labor the way Walmart does, I’ll be only too happy to criticize it. As for Chinese goods… sure, if you are a retailer in this society, unless your specialty is “Made in America,” you are likely to be selling mostly stuff built under third world conditions. It’s the system I was describing up top.)

  14. October 20, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Apparently, Not-a-Fan believes that he doesn’t have a “slated bias” (by which I think he means a bias).

  15. WhatNow
    October 20, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Perhaps highly Not A Fan meant “biased slate.”
    Evidently, guzzling everclear is causing the onset of Karsakov’s Syndrome in what few folds his gray matter ever posessed.

  16. Department of Redundancy Department
    October 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    I assume he meant to say a “slanted bias.”

  17. Plain Jane
    October 20, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Bias means “against the grain” which is, of course, slanted so “slanted bias” is redundant.

  18. Anonymongus
    October 20, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    As one who by fate and circumstances needs to work at a low-paying, yet high profit LOCAL corporation that is part of a three-party Humboldt monopoly, my paltry pay is deemed to be on the quarter-hour basis, but this company short-changes the 12 minutes toward the quarter-hour you worked by saying time is measured “punch-to-punch,” but they do not accrue the partial hours worked weekly, meaning that if you work 7 minutes over a set hour consistently, you do not get paid for the accumulated time (about 4-5 hours/month). Does anyone know where the rules for this can be found? I’d love to send them a cited source (anonymously, of course, so to keep this crappy but so rare night job) so perhaps this practice will end and I along with my 75 or so co-workers can gain that extra bucksaw or two per month. I’d appreciate any input.

  19. jr
    October 20, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    The State Labor Relations Board should be able to assist. Call them at (415) 356-5130.

  20. 69er
    October 20, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    Minutes are penny ante bs unless you make it otherwise. The last job I had for 18 years to make ends meet after retirement from my cushy job with all the great retirement benefits, used a give and take policy. If you clocked in early, no pay, if you clocked out past your assigned work hours due to finishing your work you were paid for your time. If you are not able to come to an understanding of a amenable policy, time to move on.

  21. Anonymongus
    October 21, 2012 at 6:19 am

    69er: Agreed. Still sticks in the craw though that 75 hourlies, paid a pittance as is, are still ground down for what, on their balance sheet, is but a miniscule amount. $20.00 – $30.00 lost per month is a phone or water bill. Just saying…

    jr: Thanks for the info.

  22. A-nony-mouse
    October 21, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    And WalMart does better than this HOW? It’s a rush to the bottom with WalMart and Home Depot leading the charge.

  23. 69er
    October 21, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Not an excuse for WalMart, do not shop there, haven’t been in the Eureka store and do not plan to. will not support a Home Depot either. There are a sufficient # of building supply businesses here that are locally owned to support.

  24. Anonymous
    October 21, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    How many minimum wage employees does Pierson’s have?

  25. not a fan
    October 22, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Oh was I redundant. Just fits in with the constant crap that is repeated here over and over. Why don’t any of you seem to work or get shit done. None of you. Always being picked on or done over by the man. Shit, that went out in the 60’s. Why not stand up on your on 2 feet and make a difference. Sorry, but gimmie econ is over. 69er is right, if you don’t agree, don’t spend your money there. Mitch, what would you know about woman’s anything. That would be like Joel know what it was like to have balls..

  26. Smart 5th Grader
    October 22, 2012 at 10:50 am

    not a fan speaks perfectly for the heartless scum which float on the American pond.

  27. October 22, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    Walmart and Temp Agency Labor Ready Sued in Class Action

    Walmart and two staffing agencies in the Chicago area were named as defendants in a class action lawsuit filed Monday in Illinois. The suit alleges that Walmart, Labor Ready Midwest, and QPS Employment Group violated federal and state laws by denying workers legally mandated overtime pay and in some cases, paying them less than minimum wage for hours worked.

    The 20 initial plaintiffs in the case each worked for one of the two staffing agencies and were regularly placed at Walmart stores for temporary work, often stocking shelves in the stores. Walmart utilizes hundreds of such workers in the Chicago area alone, and plans to hire thousands more nationwide during the upcoming holiday season, according to a UFCW press release.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/22/walmart-temp-agencies-sued-minimum-wage-overtime_n_2002520.html

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