Trader Joe’s in the Spotlight

By Leeds Brown Law | September 15, 2010

Trader Joe’s, along with Publix, Kroger, and Dutch-held Ahold grocery chains (which include Giant, Stop & Shop, Martin’s and Peapod), are the most recent targets of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (a grassroots group working to improve wages and working conditions for farm workers) Fair Food Campaign. Over the last nine years the Coalition, has managed, through well-organized consumer campaigns and boycotts, to convince some of the food industry’s largest corporations, such as Taco Bell/Yum Brands, McDonald’s, Subway, and Whole Foods, to agree to the tenets of Fair Food, a labor Code of Conduct, greater transparency in the supply chain and incentives for growers that respect human rights.  Trader Joe’s attracts loyal groups shoppers, but has managed until recently, to avoid much scrutiny.  For example, when 17-year-old Maria Vasquez suffered fatal heat stroke in a California vineyard that grew grapes for Charles Shaw wine, also known as Two Buck Chuck, which is sold by the Trader Joe’s, labor activists were quick to pressure Trader Joe’s to push its suppliers for stricter adherence to labor regulations.  Read More.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) prescribes standards for basic minimum wage and overtime pay, which affects most private and public employment. The Department of Labor states that it requires employers to pay covered employees who are not otherwise exempt at least the federal minimum wage and overtime pay of one-and-one-half-times the regular rate of pay. Additionally, the Department of Labor may recover back wages either administratively or through court action, for the employees that have been underpaid in violation of the law. Violations may result in civil or criminal action where employers may be assessed civil money penalties of up to $1,100 for each employee violation. The law also prohibits discriminating against or discharging workers who file a complaint or participate in any proceeding under the Act.  Read More.

The attorneys at Leeds Morelli & Brown, PC, are devoted to helping clients collect the compensation they have earned and put an end to slave labor. If you or someone you know has been faced with a labor dispute, unpaid overtime, wage dispute, slave labor, employer discrimination, has not been provided with safety precautions, or just looking to speak with an employment attorney, please contact Leeds Morelli & Brown, PC at 1-888-585-4658, One Old Country Road, Suite 347, Carle Place, NY, 11514-1851.

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