Friday, October 15, 2021

California first state to set worker quota limits for retailers like Amazon

A bill to protect California warehouse workers from abusive quota systems has been signed by Governor Gavin Newsom.

The governor signed Assembly Bill 701 on Wednesday, the same day he also signed 32 other Assembly and Senate bills approved by the California Legislature.

“We cannot allow corporations to turn a profit on people,” Newsom said in a statement late Wednesday. “The hardworking warehouse workers helping to sustain us during these unprecedented times should not risk injury or face punishment as a result of exploitative quotas that violate basic health and safety.”

AB 701, written by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, is the first law in the country that requires companies to disclose set productivity requirements and work-speed metrics for employees.

The bill prevents workers from failing to meet a quota that interferes with their ability to use the bathroom or rest, and it also mandates employers to discipline warehouse workers for being “off-task.” when they are complying with health and safety. Law.

AB 701 doesn’t specifically name Amazon, but supporters and opponents of the bill said the Seattle-based e-commerce giant was clearly a target of the regulations.

“Amazon is pushing workers to risk their bodies for next-day delivery when they can’t use the restroom without fear of retaliation,” Gonzalez said recently. “We cannot allow corporations to prosper from the injuries of their employees.”

In a February 2020 interview in The Guardian, an Amazon spokesperson said, “Like most companies, we have performance expectations for every Amazonian and we measure actual performance against those expectations.”

The bill would fire workers for failing to meet a quota that interferes with their ability to use the bathroom or rest, and it would prevent employers from disciplining warehouse workers when they comply with health. and security laws. (Photo by Terry Pearson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Strong opposition

The California Retailers Association opposes AB 701, saying it affects too many companies when the measure is clearly aimed at Amazon.

“If you cast a net so large as to go after a company there will be unintended consequences,” said association president Rachel Michelin. “We already have Cal/OSHA, which has the authority to enforce workplace safety. If regulations need more teeth, start there instead of creating a new set of laws.”

Michelin said the bill would affect distribution centers in many industries and increase the cost of living for Californians, kill well-paying jobs and damage the region’s fragile supply chain.

Fifty organizations, from retailers and food producers to auto-parts manufacturers and chambers of commerce, oppose AB 701. They are united through noonab701.org.

A recent study by Ontario-based Warehouse Worker Resource Center and Human Impact Partners highlights the difficult working conditions at Amazon’s warehouses.

“Workers reported that Amazon’s excessive quotas made it impossible to complete work and rate safely,” the report said. “Most of the workers surveyed reported that they experienced constant stress situations trying to keep up.”

A fact sheet accompanying the report shows that Amazon warehouse employees are allowed only six minutes of “time off task” in addition to their 30-minute lunch break. Employees say the nearest restroom in the company’s sprawling warehouses is often more than six minutes away from their workstation.

“Amazon’s work rates determine the dangerous pace of work that results in injury,” the report said. “Research shows that high-speed work is associated with a range of health effects, including neck and shoulder pain, muscle or joint symptoms, and back disorders.”

67 percent of Amazon employees surveyed for the study reported developing injuries from their work at Amazon, and 75% said their required work rate was either “always” or “often” to work at a safe pace. is too much.

Under AB 701, warehouse workers who believe a quota is unsafe are entitled to 90 days of their individual work-speed metrics and a description of the quota to better document violations.

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If an employee is disciplined within 90 days of requesting data or complaining about unsafe quotas to his employer or state agency, AB 701 presupposes that action was retaliatory.

The following is a list provided by Newsom’s governor’s office, which was signed on Wednesday, September 22:

  • AB 239 by Assembly Member Carlos Villapudua (D-Stockton) – Brewer and Brandy Maker: Exercise of Privileges: Location.
  • By AB 262 Assembly Member Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) – Human Trafficking: Empty Relief for Victims.
  • AB 565 by Member of Assembly Tom Lackey (R-Paldale) – Interagency Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship: Homeless Youth and Foster Youth.
  • AB 624 by Member of Assembly Rebecca Bauer-Kahn (D-Orinda) – Juvenile: Transfer to a Court of Criminal Jurisdiction: Appeal.
  • AB 700 by Member of Assembly Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo County) – Criminal Procedure: Conviction and Trial.
  • AB 744 by Member of the Assembly Freddy Rodriguez (D-Pomona) – State Highway: State Route 83: Commision.
  • AB 746 by Member of Assembly Sabrina Cervantes (D-Riverside) – Adoption: Adoption of a step-parent.
  • AB 784 – Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District, by Member of Assembly Bill Quirk (D-Hayward).
  • AB 788 – Teens: Reunification, by Member of Assembly Lisa Calderon (D-Whittier).
  • AB 898 by Member of Assembly Alex Lee (D-San Jose) – Criminal Records: Automatic Sentencing Record Relief.
  • AB 941 by Member of Assembly Steve Bennett (D-Ventura) – Farmworker Help: Resource Center.
  • AB 1031 by Member of Assembly Carlos Villapudua (D-Stockton) – State Agencies: Interns and Student Assistants: Recruitment Preference.
  • AB 1157 by Member of Assembly Alex Lee (D-San Jose) – Controller: Transportation Funds: Distribution and Reporting Requirements.
  • AB 1247 by Member of Assembly Ed Chow (D-Arcadia) – Criminal Procedure: Limitations of Actions.
  • By AB 1267 Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo County) – Alcoholic beverages: advertising or promoting donations to a non-profit charitable organization.
  • AB 1275 by Assembly Member Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. (D-Los Angeles) – Alcoholic Beverage Control: Minor.
  • AB 1281 by Member of Assembly Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) – Criminal Procedure: Protective Order.
  • AB 1318 by Assembly Member Mark Stone (D-Scots Valley) – Deferred entry of the Decision Pilot Program.
  • AB 1374 by Assembly Member Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco) – Driver’s License: Organ Donation.
  • AB 1499 by Assembly Member Tom Daly (D-Anheim) – Transportation: Design-Building: Highways.
  • AB 1579 – Family Law Ubiquitous by the Committee on the Judiciary.
  • SB 241 by Senator Thomas Umberg (D-Santa Ana) – Civil Action.
  • SB 315 Senator Richard D. By Roth (D-Riverside) – Revocable Transfer on Death Works.
  • SB 323 by Senator Anna Caballero (D-Salinas) – Local Government: Water or Sewer Service: Legal Action.
  • SB 333 by Senator Susan Talmantes Eggman (D-Stockton) – San Joaquin Regional Transit District: Purchase.
  • SB 501 by Senator Bob Wekowski (D-Fremont) – Claims Against Public Entities.
  • SB 509 by Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) – Optometry: The COVID-19 Pandemic: Provisional License.
  • SB 548 by Senator Susan Talmantes Eggman (D-Stockton) – Tri-Valley-San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority: Transit connectivity.
  • SB 734 by Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) – Redevelopment Agencies: Passthrough Agreements: Amendments.
  • SB 762 by Senator Bob Wekowski (D-Fremont) – Annex.
  • SB 779 by Senator Josh Baker (D-Menlo Park) – California Workforce Innovation Opportunities Act: Earn and Learn Programs.
  • SB 813 by the Committee on Governance and Finance – Local Government Omnibus Act of 2021.
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