California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill Wednesday that would prohibit warehouse employers from setting productivity quotas that prevent workers from taking breaks or following health and safety laws. The new law could change Amazon’s labor practices.
The bill, known as AB 701, also requires employers to disclose productivity quotas to employees and regulators and allows employees to sue employers to eliminate problematic targets. Starting January 1, employers have 30 days to give employees their productivity quotas.
“The hard-working warehouse workers who have helped us through these unprecedented times should not be at risk of injury or punishment from exploitative quotas that violate basic health and safety,” Mr Newsom, a Democrat, said:.
Amazon largely avoided commenting on the measure while state lawmakers debated it, except to point out that the company bases its productivity targets for individual employees on their performance over time. The company also said less than 1 percent of employees were laid off for underperformance.
But business groups vehemently opposed the bill, arguing it would spark an explosion in lawsuits and hamper the distribution of goods.
“We are disappointed that Governor Newsom has signed AB 701, which will exacerbate our current supply chain problems, increase the cost of living for all Californians and eliminate high-paying jobs,” said Rachel Michelin, president of the California Retailers Association. in a statement. .
Ms. Michelin previously expressed concern that the bill would effectively punish an entire industry for the alleged excesses of one company.
two separate studies, including one for a group supported by unions, have shown that the rate at which Amazon employees are seriously injured last year was nearly double that of the rest of the warehousing industry.
Industry analysts have said that cutting productivity quotas at Amazon affects costs more than its famously fast delivery times.