Walmart employees

Protestors in Colorado sought higher pay for Wal-Mart employees. (Brennan Linsley / Associated Press / December 11, 2013)

A Wal-Mart Stores Inc. contractor has agreed to pay $4.7 million to settle a lawsuit filed by 568 Southern California warehouse workers who said they were underpaid and denied rest and meal breaks.

A federal judge has approved the settlement between Schneider Logistics and employees at its warehouse in Mira Loma. Wal-Mart paid Schneider Logistics to operate the warehouse, which handled merchandise sold in Wal-Mart stores, said Elizabeth Brennan, a spokeswoman for Warehouse Workers United, a labor group that advocates for better working conditions for warehouse employees.

The lawsuit, filed in March 2012, alleged that Schneider Logistics shorted employees on overtime and regular pay and denied them rest and meal breaks to which they were legally entitled for five years. 

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"We are pleased that hundreds of workers who move merchandise in Wal-Mart’s largest warehouse complex in the western United States have won back $4.7 million in stolen wages owed to them for years of honest work," said Guadalupe Palma, director of Warehouse Workers United.

"The brave workers who came forward to expose a deep pattern of abuse and fraud in Wal-Mart’s largest contracted facility risked their jobs and their livelihoods, but today they are vindicated."

A Wal-Mart spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company was not a defendant in the lawsuit.

The workers alleged in the lawsuit that Schneider Logistics managers routinely changed employee time cards to deny them pay they had earned.

A second worker lawsuit against Schneider is pending, with Wal-Mart listed as a defendant, Brennan said.

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