Shoemania was a footwear retailer with four stores in Manhattan, owned by Mark Cohen. The chain was known for offering huge discounts on shoes, boots, sandals, and bags.
Workers at the footwear retailer Shoemania won an historic victory together with RAP in a massive legal settlement of $1.15 million that followed public demonstrations, class-action lawsuits, and workers organizing. In winter 2009, workers from Shoemania came to RAP seeking help. They told stories of working 12 hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week, without any overtime pay. Others complained of commission rates so low their hourly pay would fall below minimum wage. With RAP’s support, workers organized to take legal action against the Company to recover their lost wages. In all, 150 current and former Shoemania employees opted-in to two class-action lawsuits filed in US Federal Court.
“At first, people were afraid. Managers spread rumors that we would be fired if we joined the case or that we would never receive our unpaid wages,” said Louis Bangoura, formerly of the Bleecker Street Shoemania. “But RAP told us aboutour legal rights and eventually, the workers began to realize if we all joined together, we would have the power to win what we’d earned.”
The settlement included a payment of over $1.15 million to recover the workers’ stolen minimum wage and overtime.