Although the law is applicable to all California large warehouses, lawmakers designed it specifically for Amazon.
via Associated Press

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), signed Wednesday’s bill into law. It directly addresses the Amazon warehouse workers who are subject to production quotas.

It is also known as AB 701The law requires that companies disclose their quotas and prohibits employers from imposition of rates which prevent employees from using the restroom or taking breaks. This is the nation’s first such legislation.

These new regulations will apply to large warehouses throughout the state. However, legislators made it clear who they were referring to when they wrote the bill. It goes into effect January 1.

“Amazon’s business model relies on enforcing inhumane work speeds that are injuring and churning through workers at a faster rate than we’ve ever seen,” Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), who sponsored the bill, said in a statement Wednesday. “Workers aren’t machines. We’re not going to allow a corporation that puts profits over workers’ bodies to set labor standards back decades just for ‘same-day delivery.’”

Newsom said in a statement that he was signing the bill into law to give warehouse workers “the dignity, respect and safety they deserve.”

Amazon representatives could not reach us immediately to comment.

Amazon’s fulfillment centers are home to hundreds of thousands workers. They are many of the most skilled in their field. complained for years about the pressures to “make rate” as they pick, pack and ship out orders. Amazon sets the quotas and then fires those who don’t meet them.

“Amazon’s business model relies on enforcing inhumane work speeds that are injuring and churning through workers at a faster rate than we’ve ever seen.”

– California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez

Some Amazon workers say the time squeeze can make them reluctant to take a break or venture to the bathroom in the cavernous facilities since they get dinged for “time off task” ― that is, time spent not doing the job. This new law prohibits companies from penalizing workers who do this, as well as protecting employees who have been retaliated against.

California retailers formed a coalition to block AB 701’s passage. The group claimed that it would cause higher costs to employers and affect employment. Rachel Michelin is the president of California Retailers Association. statement Wednesday that “AB 701 will make matters worse for everyone ― creating more backordered goods and higher prices for everything from clothes, diapers and food to auto parts, toys and pet supplies.”

It was argued that it was necessary for worker safety by backers. The legislation was passed. data analysisAccording to the union-backed Strategic Organizing Center, injury rates in Amazon warehouses were close to 80% more than those in general warehousing last year.

Under the law, a warehouse worker who believes the work rate may be unsafe can request three months’ worth of their performance metrics and details on the production quotas. After such a request is made, a warehouse worker can file an injunctive remedy application to have their job reinstated.


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