Streams

What's Next for Women Workers at Wal-Mart?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lizabeth Schalet, employment discrimination attorney and partner at Lipman and Plesur, and Beverly Cooper Neufeld, President of New York Women's Agenda and director of the Equal Pay Coalition of New York City, discuss the future for class action sex discrimination litigation after the Supreme Court's dismissal of Wal-Mart v. Dukes.

Guests:

Beverly Cooper Neufeld and Liz Schalet

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Comments [16]

Tammy Kim from NYC

It isn't just low-wage, retail, or industrial workers who need unions and a way to vindicate their rights. I'm a workers' rights lawyer at the Urban Justice Center, a social justice organization in New York City, and we are currently fighting for recognition of a staff union in our workplace. The executive director of our organization has refused to voluntarily recognize our union, using many of the same arguments as bosses in big corporations. The irony escapes no one.

Jun. 22 2011 11:11 AM
Nikki Morse

The final comments on the show were about Taget workers rejecting a union, and the assertion that Target intimidated workers. To that point, view this piece on Target's anti-union video. This is a common strategy for corporations. http://www.rawstory.com/rawreplay/2011/06/target-forces-employees-to-watch-this-anti-union-propaganda-video/

Jun. 22 2011 10:33 AM
Marye Elmlinger from New York City

I just caught a comment on the show by a woman who describes herself as an attorney -- and claims that class action suits are brought by lawyers solely to benefit lawyers. I must take issue with this. I know Joe Sellers, plaintiffs' attorney in the Wal-Mart case, personally. You could not ask for a more dedicated, passionate and selfless advocate. Brian should not allow or encourage such reckless statements.

Jun. 22 2011 10:32 AM
Fuva from Harlemworld

Many, many -- if not MOST -- workers I encounter have no understanding of the importance and history of collectivization and/or unions in defending worker's rights and sustenance. They don't know, for instance, how weekends, 8 hour days, 40 hour weeks, etc., etc. were won. Fact is, effective information dissemination must play a large role here. But it's not sexy...

Jun. 22 2011 10:32 AM
John from NYC

Beverly Cooper Neufeld 's organization:

Join the Equal Pay Coalition NYC (EPCNYC), New York State Pay Equity Coalition (NYSPEC), and the New York Women's Agenda (NYWA) in our campaign which promotes economic equity on the local, state and federal level.

What does this mean -- that government workers should have their pay lowered? Or just a soviet system in which the government sets all wages.

Jun. 22 2011 10:31 AM
Mercedes from NYC

If all 1.5 million walked out of Walmart together, it would force Walmart to address the pay discrepancy immediately.

Jun. 22 2011 10:28 AM
John from NYC

I don't see the problem -- WalMart is not permitted in NYC. Problem solved.

Jun. 22 2011 10:27 AM
RoyC from Central New York

No one should have to put up with inappropriate behavior form supervisors, discrimination by race, age, etc., or any other unfair or onerous condition of work. However, it's this kind of attempt a "bulk" tort cases that just scare the pants out of small businesses. I run just such a firm. No one in my position would want to deal with a massive, lawyer-brought case like this. We'd probably just close up shop when faced with the litigation costs that arise from these types of cases. Do they lawyers ever think about that?

Jun. 22 2011 10:26 AM
Angelo from Brooklyn

oo your guests feel the Wal-Mart decision was correct? There was, after all, a 5-4 split by the counrt on this one.

Jun. 22 2011 10:24 AM
David from West Hempstead

That stat about the difference between women and men's pay is a pretty meaningless one out of context--it is the case, for example, that women tend to work fields that have lower-paying jobs. You can't call that discrimination.

Jun. 22 2011 10:23 AM
joan from pound ridge NY

If wamart had a union there would. Be none of these problems. My heart bleeds for the USA as now we know the supreme court is in bed with the senate, congress and big business

Jun. 22 2011 10:22 AM
Kate in New York from Manhattan

I wish Ms. Shalet would have addressed the financial point that David in Fredericksburg posed. Her answer about addressing policy is a common cover for class action attorneys and I'd suspect that no one who joins a class does so to "change policy" but instead is looking for compensation for some perceived harm or loss. Class action suits are a cottage industry for tort attorneys, with or without wrapping themselves in some "policy" veneer.

Brian - could you ask her the question again?

Jun. 22 2011 10:21 AM
Jami Floyd

Sellers and Seligman spent 7 million dollars to sue Wal-Mart. They do not expect to dig out any time soon. 5 million was on attorney time and 2 million in expert time and research. The firm self-funded the Wal-Mart case, and has yet to see any compensation.

Jun. 22 2011 10:21 AM

The “make people work overtime so we don’t have to pay benefits” trick is also practiced by the NYPD

Jun. 22 2011 10:21 AM
john from office

Ask the guest if she has ever created a job or employed anyone on her own. I am sure she has not.

Jun. 22 2011 10:20 AM
David in Fredericksburg, VA from Fredericksburg, VA

My heart bleeds for the lawyers. Make no mistake class action suits were designed by lawyers for lawyers. Usually the people in the class get little (and usually have to jump through hoops to get even that) - the lawyers walk away with millions.

Jun. 22 2011 10:10 AM

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