The New York State Assembly has passed a bill that aims to limit productivity quotas in warehouses shortly after it was approved by the State Senate. Introduced by New York State Senator Jessica Ramos and Assembly Member Latoya Joyner back in April, the Warehouse Worker Protection Act takes aim at Amazon's labor practices. Ramos and Joyner strengthened the language and expanded upon a similar bill in California that was signed into law back in 2021.
As CNBC notes, the legislation will require Amazon and any other company that operates warehouses to provide workers with documentation of their productivity quotas and to notify them of any changes. It can make the process easier for workers seeking changes in their workplace for health purposes, and it will require companies to go through an ergonomic assessment of all tasks workers need to accomplish. Companies could face penalties if the New York State Department of Labor finds them non-compliant. In addition, it would prohibit companies from implementing quotas that would prevent workers from taking meal and bathroom breaks.
Amazon workers have long complained that the company's internal system marks them as taking "time off task" when they take too long between scanning packages. That generates a warning that could lead to being fired. Ramos explained when they introduced the bill that productivity quotas prevent workers from complying with safety standards and contribute to rising injury rates in warehouses. The company consistently makes it on the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health's list of most dangerous workplaces in the US. Heather MacDougall, Amazon's workplace safety head, claimed at a recent event, however, that it's a misconception that the company has quotas. "We do not," she said.
The bill's fate is now in the hands of New York Gov. Kathy Hochul.