- A group of Amazon employees at one of the company's delivery facilities in Chicago alleged last week that Amazon failed to pay them overtime during the week of the company's annual Prime Day event. The workers filed a formal complaint with the Illinois Department of Labor, according to media reports.
- According to a statement posted to the Facebook page for DHC1 Amazonians United, a group that says it is comprised of workers at the site, Amazon dismissed workers early on July 19 due to excessive heat but said it would pay for the 6.25 remaining hours in the shift. At a follow-up meeting between the group and Amazon HR staff, the group said Amazon confirmed those 6.25 hours would count toward overtime pay. But the group said paychecks for that pay period were "a complete mess." Some employees reported missing overtime rates while others said their 6.25 hours were either missing or only partially paid out. The group also alleged some workers received "wrongful attendance penalties" for July 19.
- Some employees cited in a report by Vox's Recode said they saw overtime hours from the end of Prime Week placed as regular hours on their timesheet for the following week. Although the workers said Amazon shifted the hours back to the correct week, they claimed they were still not paid overtime, according to Recode. An Amazon spokesperson told HR Dive in an email that the company's leadership team had spoken with employees at the site regarding the overtime issue. "We've followed all applicable wage and hour laws, and are committed to speaking directly with employees to help them understand their pay," the spokesperson said.
The allegations follow complaints over the past few years by Amazon workers of workplace violations, including an ongoing class-action suit in a U.S. District Court in Florida. In that case, a class of workers contracted by Amazon to deliver products alleged in part that the company and its contractors jointly failed to pay out overtime to employees who worked more than 40 hours a week.
Employees in the DCH1 facility group said they had previously asked facility management to meet with its members about excessive heat at the facility during the week of July in question. The group launched an online petition asking for air conditioning at the facility, among other demands. The incident occurred on the heels of Amazon's 2019 Prime Day event, which smashed sales records, according HR Dive's sister publication Retail Dive.
But the run-up to Prime Day had already seen increasing worker concerns. In April, Amazon began its rollout of one-day shipping on purchases made by Amazon Prime members. That announcement drew concern from the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, whose president, Stuart Appelbaum, said Amazon workers had already struggled to meet the company's previous two-day shipping standard.
Amazon has faced prior worker allegations for issues ranging from worker safety to overtime claims. In 2017, workers at a U.K. Amazon facility alleged the combination of a 55-hour workweek and a high target of packing 120 items per hour led to some workers at the facility collapsing and requiring medical attention. Also in 2017, workers in California distribution centers filed a class-action lawsuit contending they were denied breaks, overtime pay and appropriate payment of wages.
Amazon has in most situations denied such allegations and has maintained that it provides safe workspaces. The company also points to its offering of a $15 an hour minimum wage as well as education and training benefits for staffers.
Yet those moves likely won't quiet workers or advocates moving forward. A group of workers at an Amazon fulfillment center in Minnesota protested during Prime Day to call for more permanent jobs and reduced productivity quotas.