Trucking, warehousing, and logistics company California Cartage LLC Company will pay up to $1.9M as a result of wage and hour violations at the company’s Los Angeles storage facility. Warehouse workers filed a lawsuit in 2014 and 2016 alleging that California Cartage violated the state’s minimum wage law, the city’s “living wage” statute and retaliation for taking collective action against the employer. California Cartage was acquired by NFI Industries Inc. in 2017. The company describes itself as “a leading international third party logistics provider with customers ranging from Fortune 100 companies to small businesses.” It operates over 41.5 million square feet of warehouse and distribution space.
In 2016 The Warehouse Worker Resource Center reported that warehouse workers for California Cartage at the Port of Los Angeles were on strike “for the third time in seven months as retaliation increased at the major warehouse moving goods for companies like Amazon and Lowe’s.” In Warehouse Workers of Los Angeles, Unite! (thenation.com 9/23/15), Michelle Chen wrote:
A few dozen workers at the California Cartage warehouse went on strike on Tuesday to protest poverty wages and harsh working conditions. Though backed by the advocacy group Warehouse Workers Resource Center (WWRC), with support from the Teamsters, the strikers don’t have a union—many aren’t even permanent employees. But they’ve seized on a unique moment in the labor movement to push for a broad recognition of the equal rights of contingent workers and to hold all companies operating at the site accountable…
Some 500 workers were systematically underpaid by as much as $2 to $3 per hour since at least 1999. They argue Cal Cartage is bound by local Living Wage standards because it operates on land leased from the city. Workers also charge that they were shorted on overtime hours and forced into erratic schedules, that sometimes led to being sent home immediately due to lack of work after reporting to the site.
In 2018, the NLRB ruled that California Cartage had illegally interrogated employees about their efforts to address workplace issues at the facility and made implied threats to employees about the consequences of taking collective action. National Labor Relations Board Case Number: 21-CA-193065 filed 02/14/2017 against California Cartage Company LLC lists these allegations:
8(a)(1) Coercive Actions (Surveillance, etc)
8(a)(1) Concerted Activities (Retaliation, Discharge, Discipline)
8(a)(4) Changes in Terms and Conditions of Employment
8(a)(3) Changes in Terms and Conditions of Employment
The NLRBRegion 21, Los Angeles, California, case was closed on 03/14/2018. The California state court final approval hearing on the $1.9M settlement is scheduled for October 25, 2018.
Wage and hour disputes may involve employee benefits, workers’ compensation, overtime, minimum wage, etc. In wage and hour litigation, expert witnesses well versed in federal and state wage and hour laws and local ordinances are called upon to give unbiased and informed opinions before the court. Presenting an unbiased opinion in clear and understandable language to the court makes wage and hour disputes expert witnesses crucial in litigation alleging compensation violations.