Sunday, September 10, 2006

Wal-Mart and its treatment of Pennsylvania workers on trial in Philadelphia.

Today, in a completely random situation, I heard that there is a class action suit against Wal-Mart going on here in Pennsylvania claiming that the company failed to pay hourly wages for all time worked. The case, Michelle Braun & Delores Hummel v. Wal-Mart Stores, went to trial at the beginning of the month in the Court of Common Pleas. There appears to be more than 70 similar lawsuits filed nation-wide in both federal and state courts.

In California, employees won, a $172 million verdict last December, and in New Jersey the employees lost and the case is on appeal. The Bloomberg news service reports that the next trial is in Massachusetts in October.

There has been no local press about this! According to a Arkansas Democrat Gazette:
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. boosted profit at the expense of employees by pressuring store managers to cut payroll costs, a lawyer for two former workers said at the start of a trial in Philadelphia.

Hourly workers at Wal-Mart’s Pennsylvania stores were forced to skip more than 33 million breaks and 2 million meal periods between 1998 and 2001 because of the focus on cost cuts, attorney Michael Donovan said Friday in state court. His clients are suing Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, on behalf of about 186,000 current and former employees in Pennsylvania.

The missed breaks and meals, mandated by Pennsylvania labor laws, added up to about 9 million hours of employee time, he said.

Michelle Braun and Dolores Hummel are seeking $ 300 million in damages in the lawsuit, one of more than 70 filed in federal and state courts that claim Wal-Mart failed to pay hourly wages for all time worked.
Why aren’t we hearing about this in Philadelphia?

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