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Jungle Trux Drivers the Latest to Challenge Unpaid Meal and Rest Breaks

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Unpaid meal, rest break and overtime class actions against Amazon and others continue to grow as workers challenge labor law violations.

Seattle, WAAmazon and Jungle Trux, based in King County, WA, have started the new year facing an unpaid overtime and employment class action lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by two package delivery drivers who allege Jungle Trux and Amazon failed to pay them overtime, undercounted their hours, and failed to provide them with required breaks.

The proposed class action is just one of several stemming from drivers trying to get Amazon to act responsibly and be accountable for their working conditions. For example, in California, Amazon Prime Now drivers have filed a California labor law action over their status as independent contractors. Similarly, Amazon Flex drivers have filed a lawsuit, stating they should be considered employees. Uber has also faced similar allegations.

According to the attorneys representing the Jungle Trux plaintiffs, there’s been a significant increase recently in the number of companies using intermediaries to keep labor costs down. “When workers are economically dependent on the principal companies that use intermediaries, those principal companies are responsible as employers for complying with wage and hour laws,” they state.

Rest breaks are key issue in the lawsuit, with the workers alleging Jungle Trux, and by extension Amazon, failed to provide them with their legally allotted breaks or pay them for that time in lieu of breaks. The complaint states drivers deliver 150 to 200 packages a day, often leaving no time for the required 10-minute rest breaks and 30-minute meal break. Drivers "often eat only while on-the-go to ensure they can complete all their necessary work," the complaint states.

Notably, the Jungle Trux drivers not only deliver for Amazon, but also wear Amazon uniforms and use Amazon devices. According to the lawsuit, Amazon also exercises a degree of control over their schedules and work hours. Drivers must arrive at an Amazon distribution center to pick up Amazon packages, then load those packages into orange Amazon totes, and scan the packages with Amazon's "Rabbit" device. The companies require drivers to deliver the packages by a certain time and then return to the distribution center. There, they "unload orange totes and go through a debriefing with Amazon officials regarding packages not delivered," the complaint states.

The complaint doesn’t mince words, stating "The economic reality is that Plaintiffs and members of the Class and Subclass are dependent on Amazon, the entity to which they render package pick-up and delivery services, for virtually every aspect of their jobs." The drivers are seeking certification of class action status and back pay, interest, and attorneys’ fees.

This is a trend to watch.

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