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2005-09-18
Los Angeles, CA. Workers File International Lawsuit Against Wal-Mart

This past week workers in six foreign countries filed a class action lawsuit in California, claiming that they were paid below minimum wage, forced to work unpaid overtime, and beaten by supervisors. The workers are from Bangladesh, Swaziland, Indonesia, China and Nicaragua. The suit, which was filed by the International Labor Rights Fund, could cover as many has half a million foreign workers in sweatshops that do business with Wal-Mart. The retailer did not immediately respond to the lawsuit, but said it was researching the companies and manufacturers involved. Wal-Mart does not publish a list of contractors it uses to source many of its products. The workers' complaint says that Wal-Mart violated its own agreement with foreign suppliers by failing to monitor factory working conditions. "Investigation after investigation of Wal-Mart's operations and suppliers reveal that Wal-Mart is an unrepentant and recidivist violator of human rights," the lawsuit says. The suit says that the retailer uses its market clout to impose price and time requirements on factories that result in sweatshop working conditions, but the company continues to do business with factories that violate workers' rights." The litigation details instances of worker abuse, like pregnant workers being physically abused by their supervisors. One worker said she overheard her supervisor say "with Wal-Mart, we cannot have overtime pay." According to Reuters, the plaintiffs want a jury trial in the United States. The lawsuit was filed here because the workers say that back home they could not receive a fair trial because of government corruption, and fear of reprisals.

For earlier stories on sweatshops, search Newsflash by "factories", and for Wal-Mart's legal problems, search by "lawsuit."

What you can do: For earlier stories on sweatshops, search Newsflash by "factories", and for Wal-Mart's legal problems, search by "lawsuit."










 
 
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