FILE PHOTO: California Governor Gavin Newsom appears at the Democratic Party of California headquarters on September 14, 2021 in Sacramento, California after the completion of the call elections. Reuters / Fred Greaves
September 23, 2021
(Reuters) – California Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday signed a bill banning warehouse workers like Amazon.com Inc. from setting productivity quotas, the first of its kind in the United States.
The new rules expose employees and government agencies to productivity quotas for all companies that use warehouse work, prohibiting employees from taking breaks and toilet breaks, threatening their health and safety. The governor’s office said it sought to ban the use of exposed algorithms.
This month, the California Senate approved the bill with a vote of 26-11.
“We cannot allow businesses to make more money than people can,” Newsom said in a statement signing the bill.
“The law guarantees that workers will not be fired or retaliated for failing to meet unsecured quotas.”
Newsom’s office did not select a company in the statement, but the New York Times reported that the bill was written in response to the high rate of injuries at Amazon’s warehouses.
According to a survey, Amazon employees were nearly twice as likely to be seriously injured last year as compared to other warehousing industries, the newspaper reported.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“The hard-working warehouse workers who support us in these unprecedented times continue to suffer injuries and penalties as a result of exploitative actions that violate basic health and safety. You don’t have to,” Newsom said.
The California Retailers Association expressed disappointment with Newsom’s signing of the bill, saying it “exacerbates current supply chain problems, increases the cost of living for all Californians, and eliminates high-paying jobs.” ..
(Reporting by Kanishk Singh and Aakriti Sharma in Bangalore, edited by Clarence Fernandez and Robert Birsel)