California may force Amazon to improve conditions for warehouse workers
A California bill centered on warehouse labor issues is set to go to a vote in the Senate this week. If it becomes law, legislation and other warehouse companies may require significant changes. Bill AB-701, which the state assembly passed in May, would force warehouse operators like Amazon to be transparent about what quotas their workers are expected to meet.
“The bill provides that an employee shall not be required to fulfill a quota that prevents compliance with meal or rest periods, use of bathroom facilities or occupational health and safety laws,” the proposed legislation states. The bill also seeks to prevent employers from penalizing employees who do not meet quotas that do not allow them to take breaks or comply with health and safety rules. If workers can’t realistically meet Amazon’s productivity expectations, the company may have to cut quotas in the state.
Several Amazon workers have talked about compromising or minimizing bathroom breaks to ensure they meet quotas. According to reports, the company’s expectations led many delivery drivers to grab a cup of coffee rather than spend time using the restroom. Warehouse workers shared similar complaints. Amazon keeps a close eye on worker productivity, including how long each employee spends.
An Amazon spokesperson said New York times That “terminations due to performance issues are rare,” they did not comment directly on the bill.
Last year, Amazon reportedly expected workers to scan 400 items per hour in fulfillment centers that use robots. According to a report by the Center for Investigative Reporting, the rate of serious infections in those warehouses was 50 percent higher than Amazon’s non-automated warehouses.
Warehouse injury researcher Edward Flores, director of the Center for Community and Action at the University of California, Merced, told currently Repetitive stress injuries are a problem in automated warehouses. Dr Flores said workers “respond to the speed at which the machine is moving”, which leads to a “high rate of repetitive motions and therefore repetitive injuries.”
Amazon announced some measures aimed at curbing warehouse infections in May. It included plans and where workers could stretch, as well as hourly “mind and body” prompts.
The company has a long history of controversial business practices. At the beginning of this year, Amazon closed a warehouse in Chicago where workers staged strikes and protested better working conditions. Some of those employees said they were between working 10-hour cemetery shifts at other fulfillment centers or finding a new job. At the time, Amazon denied that this was the case.
In August, a National Labor Relations Board official recommended that workers at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama hold another union vote. The Retail, Wholesale and Supermarket Consortium has accused Amazon of violating labor laws by interfering with the process. Workers in the interpolation center.
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