Supreme Court to workers: Drop dead

The law and previous interpretation of it have been pretty clear on this. I don’t agree with it, but the court made the right decision.

But yeah, it seems to me like this gives Amazon no incentive to improve. It seems to me like if you can be fired for not being at work during that time, they ought to pay you for that time. Maybe I’ll write my representatives.

The real question is how much time. 5 minutes, a half hour? If that’s legal, why not an extra 3 hours a day? Or 5? At what point is it OK to take somebodies time with no pay?

Speaking purely tactically, if the goal of the security screening program is to keep these employees from damaging the company, how is infuriating them going to help achieve that goal?

Yeah. This is so petty. I would be tempted to be as petty as possible with them as well. They certainly don’t make Amazon look like a desirable place to work. How are you going to attract decent employees with that kind of corrosive view of your current workers?

Its such an easily solved problem. If they are working 7 to 3, 3 - 11, 11-7 shifts then start the shift change 15 minutes early.

Thats fair because it cuts the unpaid Employee wait time in half. Hard to imagine anyone bitching about staying 10 minutes past the clock.

There is a cost for Amazon. 15 minutes for a shift change is 45 minutes a day lost work time. It adds up quickly.

I show up on time for work, and am ready to work on time every fucking day. I expect to be relieved on time every day, and then my ass is out of there. If you expect me to stay late ten minutes a day, you can pay me for it.

The courts don’t take kindly to secret collusion between plaintiffs and defendants (or even just the defendant doing something and hoping someone else will sue them for it so they can go to court and get a ruling).

Are the workers in question making more than 107% of minimum wage?

If they are, then wouldn’t a victory in this case be mostly symbolic? An employer who had to pay them for their standing in line time could just reduce their wages by the 7% (30 minutes out of an 8 hour shift) extra time that they’d have to pay, and the total cost to the employer wouldn’t change, nor would total compensation to the employee.

Were you ever under a different impression? There have been a bunch of stories over the past year or so, many by current or former employees, about how shitty it is to work in their distribution centers.

Here’s just one example.

It’s an easy solution in this case for Amazon (or the actual employer, which I think is a different company) to do that. Or to have more people doing the screening.

But that’s a separate issue than whether the Supreme Court made the correct decision based on the law. There has to be a line somewhere between getting to work and being at work - and for a variety of reasons, the courts and the department of labor aren’t going to draw a line in each individual case. It would become a mess- is time changing into a uniform work time if I’m allowed to wear the uniform while traveling to work ? When does my commute end and work begin? When I cross the employer’s property line or when I park my car or when I get off the bus at the nearest bus stop? What about if my normal place of work isn’t my employer’s property and my employer has no control over where I can park or any necessary security screenings? ( not only the Amazon situation, but also people who work at a mall or an airport, but not for the mall or airport) Suppose I work on an island entirely owned by my employer. Does compensable time start when I get to my worksite or when I get off the bridge or when I get onto the bridge? Suppose I don’t work for the entity that owns the island but my employer maintains offices on the island? Then when does my worktime start? Does the amount of time make a difference - and if so, what about the situation where it takes different people different amounts of time due to travel or parking arrangements? Does one person get paid from the point where the enter the property while another doesn’t get paid until they actually arrive at theirr work location? I’m sure some of you will think I’m exaggerating , but I used to work on Rikers Island (a large jail complex in NYC ) for a different agency than the one that owned the complex, and some of my coworkers felt they should get paid from the moment they got on the bridge.

The law and its interpretation use very broad categories - and the current law has been interpreted so that security screenings are not part of work time. Congress can change the law- just like they did when they passed the Portal to Portal Act to begin with.But until they do, the courts are stuck with the law as it exists.

The question remains. If you are clocked out, done working, how long is it legal to force you to stay at the job site, for what ever reason?

An hour? Three hours? Six hours? Is there a time limit at all?

In essence, that is the real question. How long is it legal to detain somebody with no compensation?

Absolutely. In the same way it’s hard to imagine an employer bitching because you show up every day 10 minutes late.

Yeah, he’s also (or was several years ago, I haven’t kept up in a few) the one Justice most likely to stand up for the people (as in individuals’ civil liberties vs. state authority) and/or the right (as in correct, not wing) decision in lopsided losing cases. It used to seem like he was the only one who EVER ruled against unlimited expansion of government power in every aspect. For the most part the group is pro-state, pro-business, and rules as a body against individual human rights, Republican or democrat, black or white.

Some are calling it a victory for labor.

It’s not about “staying past the clock” it’s about not getting paid for being at work. 10 minutes a day 5 days a week 50 weeks per year is over 40 hours a year. That’s an entire week of unpaid work every year, 10 minutes at a time. In the case of Amazon “approaching 30 minutes per day” that’s “approaching” three weeks of unpaid work per year.

Okay, I sort of see that maybe this guy had a point, but I can’t quite get from the decision to his conclusion. Can someone help me out?

That article was from February 2014. Here’s another one from Mother Jones from April 2012:
I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave. (Article includes links to still other earlier similar articles.)

This dispute over pay for waiting at the security line is just the tip of the iceberg for Amazon warehouse workers. (It might not be just Amazon though. I think I’ve read that all those big on-line warehouse fulfillment centers are pretty much the same.) So how do they “attract decent employees”? Why should they care about that? As far as employers like this are concerned, employees are just disposable diapers.

(And also, BTW, Amazon is increasingly replacing their warehouse wage slaves with robots.)

So your simple solution is that Amazon gets 10-15 minutes of free time from each employee, every single day? Yay! Amazon wins, and employees don’t get paid for their time!

Fuck that.

How about a better solution:

Employees clock in when they enter the building, and then they clock out when they exit the building (after the security check).

Mark my words: we are not prepared to deal with mass human obsolescence and leisure.

I’m not the only person who thinks so, either. In fact, science fiction has been exploring this possibility for a long time; I don’t know that anyone has ever come up with a solution or even a way to avoid it.

But, to be fair to the thread and the OP, it’s really a separate issue to the problem of employer’s screwing their employees, with or without the help of the legislative and/or judicial systems.

Notable, but not really germane.

ISTM, Isaac Asimov wrote essays on this subject – Not just sci-fi, but actual essays proposing a culture of leisure. I don’t know what his analysis was, beyond that he saw it as feasible and maybe even inevitable.