Monday, October 6, 2014

Supreme Court to hear Amazon wage theft case

The U.S. Supreme Court has yet to meet a corporation it doesn't love, which is why an upcoming wage theft case against an Amazon contractor is so troubling.

The case, which the high court will hear Wednesday, pits a contract worker at an Amazon warehouse against the online retail giant.

As Bloomberg reported,
Jesse Busk spent a 12-hour shift rushing inventory through an Inc. (AMZN) warehouse in Nevada to meet quotas. His day wasn’t over, though. 
After clocking out, Busk and hundreds of other workers went through an airport-style screening process, including metal detectors, to make sure they weren’t stealing from the Web retailer. Getting through the line often took as long as 25 minutes, uncompensated, he and others employed there say. 
“They did it on my time,” Busk, 37, of Henderson, Nevada, said in an interview. “If people are stuck in your building and they’re not allowed to leave, why don’t you go ahead and pay them?”
Busk filed a class-action suit against the contractor, a temp agency called "Integrity Staffing Solutions." Workers at other Amazon warehouses have sued both Amazon and the temp agencies that hired them.

What's troubling is that Busk will probably lose his case. Bill Blum noted in truthdig,
Jesse Busk has almost no chance of winning his lawsuit when it comes before the Supreme Court for oral argument Wednesday during the opening week of the new 2014-15 term. His dismal prospects stem not from any legal weaknesses in his case but from one overriding fatal flaw—he’s an ordinary working person challenging the prerogatives of corporate power. Cases like his seldom succeed before the panel led by Chief Justice John Roberts, rated by many observers and scholars as the most pro-business iteration of the high tribunal since the early 1930s.
The Supreme Court is therefore likely to open the door for even more wage theft. As University of Washington law professor Eric Schnapper said,
It’s a much bigger deal than just about searches. If the court adopts the company’s view, it would allow employers to require employees do a variety of tasks once their shift ends.
Brace yourselves for still another anti-worker decision from the Supreme Court.