California’s new law targets production quotas in Amazon warehouses

The new law applies to all major warehouses in California, but lawmakers designed it with Amazon in mind. (Photo: via Associated Press)

California Governor Gavin Newsom (R) on Wednesday signed a bill directly targeting production quotas imposed on Amazon warehouse workers.

The bill, known as AB 701, requires companies to disclose their quotas to employees and prohibits them from imposing tariffs that prevent workers from taking breaks or using the bathroom. It is the first law of its kind in the country.

The new requirements apply to all large warehouses in the state, but lawmakers have made it clear which employer they have in mind when drafting the bill, which goes into effect in January.

“Amazon’s business model is built on the application of inhumane work speeds that injure and make workers work at a faster rate than ever before,” said Congresswoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), who sponsored the bill, in a press release. declaration Wednesday. “Workers are not machines. We are not going to allow a company that puts profits above the bodies of workers to push labor standards back decades just for “same day delivery”.

Newsom said in a statement he was signing the bill to give warehouse workers “the dignity, respect and security they deserve. “

An Amazon spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.

Amazon employs hundreds of thousands of workers in its fulfillment centers across the country. Many of them have complained for years the pressures to “make the rate” when picking, packing and shipping orders. Amazon administers quotas by algorithm and fires workers who do not meet them.

Amazon’s business model is based on the application of inhumane work speeds that injure and disrupt workers at a faster rate than ever before.California MP Lorena Gonzalez

Some Amazon employees say the lack of time can make them reluctant to take a break or venture to the restroom in cavernous facilities, as they are taken for ‘time off work’. time spent not doing the job. The new law would prohibit a company from penalizing a worker for doing so and would protect workers against whom reprisals would be suffered.

California retailers have created a coalition to try to prevent AB 701 from becoming law, saying it will increase costs for employers and hurt jobs. Rachel Michelin, president of the California Retailers Association, said in a declaration Wednesday that “AB 701 will make things worse for everyone – creating more back-ordered products and higher prices for everything from clothing, diapers and food to auto parts, toys and pet supplies of company. “

Supporters of the legislation argued that it was important for worker safety. A data analysis by the union-backed Strategic Organizing Center found that injury rates were nearly 80% higher in Amazon warehouses compared to the warehousing industry in general last year.

By law, a warehouse worker who thinks the pace of work may be unsafe can request three months of his performance measurements and details of production quotas. If a worker is dismissed after such a request, the law gives him the possibility of requesting an injunction so that he can be reinstated.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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