Amazon workers in Chicago accuse company of withholding overtime pay during Prime Week
Amazon Inc. workers at a delivery facility in Chicago are accusing the company of not paying them for overtime during Prime Week, the e-commerce behemoth’s biggest sale of the year, earlier this month.
The employees, part of a recently formed organization called DCH1 Amazonians United that advocates for workers’ rights, said they filed a complaint with the Illinois Department of Labor laying out their concerns. The story was first reported by Recode.
“Amazon is a trillion-dollar company,” the workers said in a Facebook post. “There is absolutely no excuse for wage theft and such ridiculous payroll issues. They are cheating an estimated 150-200 workers at DCH1 of $50 to $150 each.”
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This year, the two-day blowout sale is the biggest shopping day in Amazon history. It sold 175 million items to a “record” number of Prime members around the world this year, although it did not disclose overall sales.
During the sale, however, Chicago was hit by a record heatwave that made the facility, DCH1, too hot to work in, worker said. The employees were sent home six hours early because of the unbearable conditions, and management agreed to pay them for their full shifts, as first reported by BuzzFeed News.
Those hours were supposed to count toward overtime — meaning employees would receive time and a half — but when they checked their timecards, the overtime pay was missing. Some employees who worked more than 40 hours said they did not receive the extra overtime pay; others reported that they weren’t paid for the promise six hours., and some only received half of that time.
The complaints come in the midst of disputes across the country between Amazon and its workers. Workers in a Minnesota warehouse went on strike during the first Prime Day sale, citing unfair working conditions.
Amazon, one of the world’s richest companies, has become a lightning rod for income inequality, while simultaneously facing accusations that it has managed, repeatedly, to dodge paying its fair share in taxes. Ahead of the 2020 presidential election, Democratic candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren called for the break-up of Amazon.