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.
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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.