Amazon temps sue over long security checks

Workers in Nevada claim they weren't paid for time spent waiting in screening lines after their 12-hour shifts.

By Jason Notte May 9, 2013 2:03PM
Amazon.com logo © Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesThe consumer shipping market is fraught with peril between Point A and Point B. Disreputable delivery agencies could abscond with packages. Items left on doorsteps could just disappear, as they do just about every holiday season.


Yet Amazon.com (AMZN) seems to think a warehouse full of temporary workers could be the leakiest piece of its package pipeline, so it makes those employees wait up to half an hour just to get through security checkpoints. Employees at a Nevada warehouse are suing Amazon's hiring company for making them wait -- unpaid -- in lines that are sometimes a hundred people deep at the end of their shifts.


The employees' issue isn't with the checks themselves, according to The Huffington Post. They understand exactly how much the electronics and other pricey goods in the warehouse are worth and why Amazon wouldn't want employees -- especially the temporary holiday help -- just leaving the grounds unchecked. And they haven't named Amazon in the suit.


They're angry primarily because the temp agency that hired them, Integrity Staffing Solutions, didn't give them any money for spending an extra half-hour at work after a 12-hour shift.


The employees have been suing for back wages and hit a wall in 2011 when a federal court in Nevada tossed out their claims that they're owed for the time they spent in security lines in 2009 and 2010. Last month, however, a federal appeals panel reversed that portion of the decision. The plaintiffs' lawyers now say thousands of workers are eligible to join the suit, and they've cited similar conditions at warehouses in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Tennessee.


Although this is somewhat new territory for the logistics and package-based retail industry, the Amazon temp workers' complaint falls under the donning and doffing portion of the Department of Labor's Fair Labor Standards Act. A similar suit against U.S. Steel (X) is going before the Supreme Court in October, according to Occupational Health & Safety, while the Department of Labor pushed Tyson Foods (TSN) to settle a similar case in 2010.


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46Comments
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No problerms with the checks, but put the time clock on the back side of the security check point.
May 9, 2013 3:59PM
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I believe in the past that flight attendants had the same issue, where they did not get paid if the flight  was delayed, cancelled, etc. I say, if one is "trapped" in a building a plane, etc, they should be compensated for the wait/delay even if they are not being "productive" because, their time is certainly not their own if they are waiting in a queue just to leave....

May 9, 2013 3:16PM
May 9, 2013 4:24PM
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Amazon needs to either let them out earlier or pay them until they are completely out of the factory. I understand that the temp agency is to blame but Amazon has the real power and can easily change the rules if it wanted to.
May 9, 2013 5:37PM
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How about staggering end times so everybody doesn't leave at once?
May 9, 2013 5:18PM
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"And they haven't named Amazon in the suit."

They can't name Amazon because Amazon didn't hire them.  It's how Amazon avoids all legal responsibility for this slave labor.   90% of these workers are 'temp.'   The staffing company has offices on site, take a sick day and you're fired, leave for an emergency and you're fired.  There is no vacation, no benefits, no sick leave.  These 'sweat warehouses' are replica's of slave labor from the past and the reason UNIONS were created.  Every SECOND of their time is monitored down to how long it took to take a piss, 'and could you hold that until your break cause you're already 90 seconds behind schedule.'   All for 25 cents over minimum wage.  

Folks, if you care at all about your fellow human being, think about what Amazon is doing here, walk a mile in the shoes of one of these laborers and believe me, you won't buy from Amazon.




Don't buy from Amazon as this is the new business model for treatment of America's Employees. 
May 9, 2013 2:43PM
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Kinda reminds me of the diamond mines in South Africa, America is no longer the land of opportunity.  No honor or glory for anybody but the rich.  Sorry a$$ way to end a wonderful dream.
May 9, 2013 3:57PM
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When I was in college I worked as a package handler at a UPS warehouse.  Damaged boxes would get set aside and a girl would come by to patch them up and send them on their way.  She got the idea to bring personal address labels to work so the packages would be delivered to her house.  Some plainclothes security guys came by one day and took her away.

May 9, 2013 5:31PM
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Nevada's legislature and Governor are ALL owned by Gambling and Mining.  History reveals that Nevada politicians side against their general population again and again.  First state to enact
'Right to Work/, a gift to the Casinos.  These yahoos gave Nevada Energy, the states electricity monopoly 40 BILLION dollars in 2010.  How did they get it?  By cutting State Employee pay by 6%, charging more for health insurance, forced unpaid leave.  Meanwhile, they have granted the utility monopoly 4 rate hike increases in the last 5 years and they are getting another this year.    They refuse to increase mining revenue and we get the same rate we've gotten since 1919 at $19.00 PER OUNCE!!!!!

Not only the pit of this depression, these politicians make it the pit of the USA.




May 10, 2013 10:30AM
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Get rid of temp agencies they are useless!
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dress for success and security check outs and in ,leave your crap in the car


May 9, 2013 8:49PM
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I work @ the California Amazon warehouse but the temp agency is different then the one being sued. Through the peek season we didn't have the long lines at the security check points-usually I can just walk right on through and even If i set the metal detector off it usually only took 1-2 min of my time, however our warehouse isn't fully complete so the warehouse hasn't seen the max amount of workers going through it yet, so long security lines could obviously become a problem in the future. 

I have had to wait 5-10min in lines to just clock in sometimes which meant you had to make sure you were extra early as so to not be docked late points for clocking in late, but then the start and ending times were staggered a week later as to avoid having those long lines.  Never got paid for that.

The Huffington post articles also mention the breaks and lunchtime problems.  I usually take my break at the nearest break-room which is usually a 1-2min walk away so it takes about 2-4 min off my 15min break.  Other people like taking their breaks at the main cafeteria but depending on where you are in the building you could end up spending most of your break-time just walking to & from it.  For lunch it  really doesn't matter as much were you take lunch since both breakrooms and the main have clocks near them.  The temp agency  told us that break is really 10 min & the 5 min is for time spent going to & from break-I have no idea if this is true or not but I just try to get the most out of mine.

But at $11.50hr its one of the highest or the highest paying unskilled job in this area & since its located in a college town a lot of the workers are students.  Its hard and tiring work but this general area has one of the highest unemployment rates in Cali so basically were all desperate people looking for any work.  Their medical plan doesn't even include preventive care so its only for if you get sick-its not really even worth the cost.
May 9, 2013 3:32PM
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Amazon = good company; Nevada temp workers = untrustworthy *^#*^. If this is news you've never been to Nevada.
May 9, 2013 3:02PM
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I hope they win & also get to also sue Amazon in their lawsuit!  That company has screwed over so many customers & employees for years!  Crooked, corrupt, illegal practicing Jeff "horse-sex" Bezos is a pawn of the anti-christ.  Burn in hell Amazon!!!
May 9, 2013 3:02PM
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Sketchy legal issues.  At what point do you start the clock?  does the clock start when I get to my work station or when I enter the building.  Should I get credit when I pull in the parking lot... when I leave my house, When I start getting dressed if I have to wear a uniform?

 

The lawyers will make a fortune on this over the next few years.

May 9, 2013 3:14PM
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There are plenty of other jobs out there if they do not like the one they have. There is opportunity out there for everyone in an Obama economy
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