Saturday, April 23, 2011

Will County warehouse workers filing suit against Schneider Logistics and Reliable Staffing

The Huffington Post reports a group of workers who worked in Wal-Mart's distribution center in Elwood, Illinois have filed a class-action lawsuit against Schneider Logistics and Reliable Staffing claiming they were not paid what they were owed.

Schneider Logistics is contracted by Wal-Mart to run the distribution warehouse in Elwood.  Reliable staffing, as reported by the Huffington Post, supplies workers for Schneider.  In a press release announcing Schneider's contract with Wal-Mart, a Wal-Mart executive was quoted as saying: ""The Elwood distribution center will provide Wal-Mart the opportunity to better serve our stores throughout the Midwest,” said Johnnie Dobbs, executive vice president of logistics and supply chain for Wal-Mart. “Our partnership with American Port Services, Schneider Logistics and Schneider National will create hundreds of good paying jobs for the region and represents our continued commitment to Illinois as a partner in both economic and community development.""

In a Joliet Herald News article the president of Reliable Staffing stated all workers were paid what they were due according to law.  

In contrast to the comments by Dobbs, the group Warehouse Workers for Justice claims many of the jobs in Will County Warehouses are not good jobs.  Warehouse Workers for Justice claim 2/3 of the workers in Will County warehouses are temps making poverty level wages, based on a survey of warehouse workers conducted by the group.

In response to publication of the survey, the Joliet Herald News published an editorial that warned there was little to protect workers from being exploited in warehouses.  In response to the Herald's editorial, Will County Center for Economic Development CEO and President John Grueling wrote an editorial challenging the methodology and thus the veracity of the Warehouse Workers for Justice survey.  Grueling also wrote, in regards to the warehouse industry, "This industry offers employment opportunities to that segment of the population with the fewest options for earning a living wage."

Here are some videos from the Warehouse Workers for Justice meeting where the group released the findings of its report: