Delivery driver Theron Bradley says he started most shifts at 9:30 am.
He says he would go to an Amazon delivery hub on Chicago’s Southwest Side and load a van with about 130 packages.
Bradley says he had to carry a small machine that would calculate a route and monitor him as he traveled across the city. He claims he was under pressure to deliver packages as fast as possible.
“You had to deliver that package no matter what. You can be out there (until) 10 p.m., 11 p.m.,” Bradley said. “It must be delivered that day.”
Even if he finished delivering the packages, Bradley said his day may not be over. He claims he could be sent on a “rescue,” which meant picking up packages from another driver who still had deliveries.
Bradley claims he regularly worked more than 12 hours a day, but was always paid the same flat rate: $150.
Bradley is part of a federal labor lawsuit filed Tuesday that names two logistics companies, “Silver Star” and “Gold and Standard Transportation,” as defendants, as well as the online marketing giant Amazon.com.
The suit alleges the three companies violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay Bradley, and other workers like him, overtime.
In a written statement, Amazon said “the small and medium sized businesses that partner with Amazon Logistics have their own employees.”
But workers claim Amazon was clearly a “joint employer” and also carried a responsibility. Workers said they wore Amazon uniforms, got orders directly from Amazon, and sometimes were even followed by Amazon employees who monitored their work.
Amazon says it requires all the companies it works with to abide by a code of conduct, which covers appropriate compensation and working hours. Amazon did not respond to questions about internal investigations into overtime.
Shannon Heffernan is a reporter for WBEZ follow her @shannon_h.