Measure Will Ensure Companies Like Amazon Can’t Take Advantage of Workers
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(WASHINGTON) — The Teamsters are hailing the signing of legislation in New York that bolsters worker safety in the e-commerce and warehouse industries at companies like Amazon. The new law brings transparency to hidden workplace quotas and ensures these mandates don’t interfere with legally protected breaks.
The Warehouse Worker Protection Act, signed today by Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), was drafted with input from the Teamsters and other members of the New Yorkers for a Fair Economy coalition. The new law, along with Teamster-backed AB 701 already enacted in California, sets high-level warehouse industry protections as it relates to overly burdensome and abusive quotas.
“Amazon overloads its workers to pump up its profits,” said Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien. “While we are pleased by this bill’s signing, the fight continues in states across the country to make sure this white-collar crime syndicate is held responsible for its behavior.”
Teamsters Joint Council 16, Joint Council 18, and Joint Council 46 played essential roles in getting the measure approved. Leaders from each Joint Council previously wrote in a letter sent to lawmakers that the bill would shield workers from discipline or termination based on unfair and secret quotas and protect standards in the warehouse industry.
“Enacting this legislation will end Amazon’s shady practice of managing its New York warehouse workers by secret algorithm, but more still needs to be done,” said Tom Erickson, President of Teamsters Local 120 and Director of the Teamsters Warehouse Division. “Going forward, lawmakers everywhere need to understand the damage this company is doing to their constituents and our communities.”
The legislation requires that major warehouse companies provide their employees with documentation of their quotas at the time of hire, or when the law takes effect for current employees. Workers must also be notified of any change to their quota and have the right to request their own work speed data along with aggregate data of similar workers in the facility if they believe they were disciplined for not meeting a quota. Companies will no longer be able to impose quotas that interfere with workers’ lunch, rest, or bathroom breaks. The bill also protects workers from retaliation when exercising their rights.
Injuries increased by 64 percent at Amazon warehouses in New York as the company reinstated its grueling quotas after the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report from New Yorkers for a Fair Economy.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.2 million hardworking men and women in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. Visit Teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at Facebook.com/teamsters.