New York gets closer to cracking down on Amazon’s warehouse production quotas
New York’s State Assembly passed the Warehouse Worker Protection Act (WWPA) on Friday, a bill that would require Amazon and other companies to disclose production quotas to workers, as first reported by CNBC. If New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) signs it into law, it would also prevent employees from having to meet quotas that require them to skip lunch or bathroom breaks.
Just like a similar bill passed in California last September, the WWPA states that employers will need to provide each warehouse worker with “a written description of each quota to which the employee is subject” when they’re hired (or within 30 days of the bill becoming law). It also bars employers from punishing workers for failing to meet quotas that weren’t disclosed, or that they had to skip breaks to meet. Governor Hochul hasn’t signaled whether she plans to approve the bill or not, CNBC notes. The Verge reached out to Amazon with a request for comment but didn’t immediately hear back.
While the bill’s text doesn’t directly mention Amazon, New York Senator Jessica Ramos (D) acknowledged that it’s designed to address Amazon’s management practices, which Ramos claims involve “dehumanizing workers & punishing the very human need for rest.” Past reports revealed that Amazon uses an automated tracking system to evaluate workers’ productivity, with some workers reportedly resorting to peeing in bottles and skipping bathroom breaks to meet the e-commerce giant’s production standards.
Organization efforts are ramping up at Amazon warehouses in New York and around the country. In April, workers at a Staten Island, New York warehouse became the first Amazon warehouse workers to unionize. So far, it’s the only warehouse to vote in favor of a union — a neighboring Staten Island warehouse voted against unionizing last month, while the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) is disputing the results of a union election at a Bessemer, Alabama warehouse, claiming that Amazon interfered with the results once again.