Always Low Wages. Always.

Just in case you’d forgotten, Wal-Mart sucks:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s biggest retailer, agreed to pay $54.3 million to settle a Minnesota lawsuit over wages after a judge ruled the company broke state laws by requiring employees to work off-the-clock.

The settlement covers workers employed between Sept. 11, 1998, and Nov. 14, 2008, at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club locations, the retailer said today in a statement. The agreement prevents the case from being presented to a jury, which would have been asked to order Wal-Mart to pay as much as $2 billion.

The company required hourly employees to work off-the-clock during training and denied full rest or meal breaks in violation of state wage-and-hour laws, Hastings, Minnesota, District Judge Robert King Jr. ruled July 1, following a non-jury trial. King said Wal-Mart broke labor laws more than 2 million times and ordered the retailer to give employees $6.5 million in back pay.

Wal-Mart, of course, has aggressively fought unionization, because unions tend to dislike it when you require workers to work for no pay.

While it’s good to see the suit settled, and employees compensated after a decade of stalling, I’m a bit disappointed that it’s being settled. As noted, a jury trial could have cost the company $2 billion, and that kind of money might have motivated them to, you know, pay their workers and give them adequate breaks. Instead, Wal-Mart will pay their parking ticket and continue to screw over their workforce.

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