California governor signs legislation targeting Amazon warehouse speed quotas

California governor signs legislation targeting Amazon warehouse speed quotas

California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomEquilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Nations plan to pump oil despite net zero promises California Gov. Newsom issues executive order to address supply chain congestion Final California recall count shows Newsom with tally identical to 2018 MORE (D) on Wednesday signed legislation aimed at combating Amazon warehouse speed quotas by protecting employees who are unable to meet quotas due to constraints on not being able to take a rest period or bathroom break. 

“We cannot allow corporations to put profit over people. The hardworking warehouse employees who have helped sustain us during these unprecedented times should not have to risk injury or face punishment as a result of exploitative quotas that violate basic health and safety,” Newsom said in a statement on Wednesday. “I’m proud to sign this legislation giving them the dignity, respect and safety they deserve and advancing California’s leadership at the forefront of workplace safety.”

The legislation requires that employers notify workers about their quotas, including any punitive action that could be taken should an employee fail to meet a required task. The legislation would also not require an employee to meet their quota if it affects their ability to do things such as take a rest period or go to the bathroom.

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For quotas that stop an employee from being able to take a rest period or go to the bathroom, or quotas that have not been disclosed previously, an employer would also be prohibited from taking action against an employee. 

An investigation into an employer could be potentially opened up under the legislation if their annual employee injury rate is higher than the average annual injury rate of the warehousing industry by at least 1.5 percent. 

The legislation will become effective beginning next year, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The legislation is considered a direct jab at Amazon; a coalition of labor unions, the Strategic Organizing Center, reported earlier this year that Amazon's rate of reported serious injuries was almost twice that of other warehouses between 2017 and 2020.

The president of the California Retailers Association, who chairs a coalition of 50 groups that are against the legislation, slammed the bill in a statement on Wednesday, calling it a “recipe for disaster.”

“We are disappointed Governor Newsom signed AB 701, which will exacerbate our current supply chain issues, increase the cost of living for all Californians and eliminate good-paying jobs. With California’s ports facing record backlogs of ships waiting off the coast and inflation spiking to the fastest pace in 13 years, 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,” Rachel Michelin said in a statement.

The Hill has reached out to Amazon for comment.