AÂ handful of warehouse temp workers from New Lenox, IL gathered in front of Reliable Staffing Group Inc., to complain about unpaid wages they claim they should have received while unloading trucks at Wal-Mart.
TheÂ confrontation was organized by the Warehouse Workers for Justice, a Chicago-basedÂ entity that claims to fight for the rights of warehouse workers.
One of theÂ stories allegedly goes like this:
- 41-year-old George JohnsonÂ said he was promised $9.25 an hourÂ
- He said he sometimes got as little as $15 for a full eight-hour day
- He worked there for three months
- He often split pay with one or two other workers who were unloading the same truck
- He said he was also told to report to the warehouse at 7 a.m., but wouldnâ€™t start working until 8:30 a.m. or 9 a.m., without being paid for waiting
â€śIt was all screwed up,â€ť said Johnson, 41, who struggled to support eight kids on the meager wages. â€śYou spent all these hours working, unloading these big trucks, one after another after another. For nothing.â€ťÂ
Another former temp employee, Reginald Burnett, 32, hadÂ his thoughts on Reliable's rationale:Â â€śThe job is so hard, most people they hire have felonies, they know most people wonâ€™t hire someone with a felony, so they know heâ€™ll put up with it because heâ€™ll have a hard time doing anything else,â€ť Burnett said.
There are no claims that anyone was paid less than minimum wage.Â The big misunderstanding seems to center around pay rate.
Reliable Staffing CEO Dan Gallagher spoke to the allegations earlier this week.Â He states that all employees knew the rules and that he even went as far as to give them small bonuses so that they did not fall below minimum wage.
He claims that the strategy is to pay by productivity and that "the good productive workers are far exceeding minimum wage requirements."Â He also offered to spend as much time as necessary to explain the discrepancies.
â€śI am willing to go over every minute that they worked,â€ť said Gallagher.
Having a CEO go over every minute they worked?Â That sounds expensive.Â Wouldn't it have just been easier to do that before they started working -- or as soon as they started complaining?
Picture by Michael Sewall