Published On: Wed, Dec 10th, 2014

Amazon Wins 9-0 Supreme Court Decision over Employees


Amazon has won a major labor decision at the U.S. Supreme Court. The company is also planning to try out a new 1 hour delivery service using bike messengers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In a rare 9-0 ruling, America’s highest court yesterday handed down a decision against Amazon’s employees who work at the Integrity Staffing Solutions facilities in Nevada, where Amazon merchandise is processed and shipped. The workers in question had demanded to be paid for the time that they must spend going through security checks when coming and going from the facility. This can take them up to half an hour a day.

The case was Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc v. Jesse Busk and Laurie Castro, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 13-433. The plaintiffs sought protection under the 1947 law, the “Portal-to-Portal Act, ” but the Court rejected their arguments.

The security screenings are not for safety but to protect Amazon against employee theft. Even Wall Mart does not do that to its workers.

In the ruling Justice Clearance Thomas said that the Amazon workers could simply quit if they were not happy with the policy there. He also suggested that they form a union to engage on collective bargaining on their behalf if they want contracts that would guarantee them pay for their extra time.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a concurring opinion. You know that someone brought a really weak case before the Supreme Court when polar opposites like Judges Thomas and Sotomayor are in agreement.

“This is an early holiday present for Amazon, ” labor attorney Michael Droke, who was not involved in the case, told CNN.

Meanwhile, the company is paying bike delivery people as much as $15 an hour for its new experimental 1 hour delivery service, the WSJ has reported. The service is being tested in New York City. They are based at the company’s recently leased space at West 34th Street.

The delivery agents are required to take a picture of the ground floor of the building where they go upon arrival and present it when they get back to the Amazon offices. There, between deliveries, they enjoy a lounge with foosball, pool and air hockey tables, an arcade and other amenities.

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