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New York Lawmakers Seek to Limit Warehouse Productivity Quotas, Targeting Amazon

The Warehouse Worker Protection Act aims to prevent rising injury rates in warehouses, taking direct aim at Amazon after the company was named one of the most dangerous workplaces for the third time by the National Occupational Safety and Health Council.

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New York lawmakers have their eyes on Amazon, and with a new bill, they seek to limit production quotas for warehouse workers to ensure their safety. The bill, introduced by New York Senator Jessica Ramos and Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner, expands on language of a similar initiative passed in California last year — making it the first state in the country to regulate warehouse quotas to guarantee safer labor practices for workers.

The Warehouse Worker Protection Act would provide workers with a private right of action against employers who set algorithm-driven quotas that injure employees. Employers with at least 50 employees in a single warehouse, or 500 workers statewide, would have to detail productivity quotas in a written description, as well as explain the development process of their quotas and how they are used for disciplinary purposes. Also, the bill would ensure that workers are guaranteed adequate bathroom breaks and rest periods. 

Related: Amazon Warehouse Injury Rate Last Year Was More Than Double the Rate of Other Warehouses, Study Reveals

For the third time this year, Amazon was singled out by the National Occupational Safety and Health Council for its grueling warehouse labor practices and having an injury rate more than double the industry average. Limiting productivity quotas prevents workers from abiding by questionable safety standards and can “ease the bargaining process” when making workplace health claims, Senator Ramos explains in a statement. If the bill is passed, companies would be required to go through an extensive assessment of all conditions and tasks, and face penalties if they fall short in safety standards.

The legislation in California and bill introduced in New York could mark the first of crucial action taken towards better working conditions nationwide, securing warehouse workers’ safety on the job.

Related: Amazon Workers Fight to Improve Working Conditions

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