Two small victories for employees in a hostile environment
This week, employees won two relatively small battles in the current "culture war" between employers who will take money anywhere they can snitch it and employees who can be powerless to defend their interests. On the same day that big shot chef Mario Batali paid $5.5 million dollars to settle a claim by employees of his eight restaurants that he was stealing their tip money on a systematic basis, Wal-Mart approved a $13.5 million dollar settlement in a suit claiming that it was over-charging employees for 401(k) fees. K-Mart's "fiduciary" Merrill Lynch (now a part of Bank of America) was the Plan Trustee, if you can imagine, and will pay 10 million dollars of the latter settlement.
It isn't enough that employers no longer substantially contribute to employees' retirement: now, we have to fight to assure that they don't steal the money that the employees contribute. In a footnote, apparently Wal-Mart still uses Bank of America to administer the plan. And by the way, legislators in Florida have introduced a bill to reduce the minimum wage for tipped employees to less than three bucks per hour.