Governor Gavin Newsom of California signed a bill this week to safeguard warehouse employees from dangerous mandates. The bill, which addresses concerns such as toilet breaks, rest intervals, and other safety requirements, has been seen as a rejection of long-standing complaints about Amazon fulfillment center working conditions. The initiative, introduced by Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez in February, aims to improve the transparency of quotas imposed on warehouse distribution center personnel. Employers are compelled by law to educate employees about speed quotas. The regulation also aims to reduce harsh punishment for failing to fulfill quotas, such as skipping breaks.
“This bill would provide that if a current or former employee believes that meeting a quota violated their right to a meal or rest period or required them to violate any occupational health and safety law or standard,” it reads in part, “they have the right to request, and the employer is required to provide, a written description of each quota to which the employee is subject and a written description of each quota to which the employee is subject and a written description of each quota to which the The bill was the most visible of 33 bills signed by the troubled Governor, including two vetoes. Newsom made the following statement in response to the news:
We must not allow profit to take precedence over individuals. Warehouse workers who have helped us get through these difficult times shouldn’t have to risk harm or punishment as a result of exploitative quotas that violate basic health and safety regulations. I’m delighted to sign this bill, which will provide them with the dignity, respect, and protection they deserve while also extending California’s leadership in workplace safety.
Gonzalez, for one, has been more forthright about the bill’s intended impact on Amazon, highlighting the company’s track record in a statement issued after the governor’s signature.
“Amazon’s business model is based on enforcing inhumane work speeds that are hurting and churning out people at an unprecedented rate. Workers aren’t robots. We will not allow a firm that prioritizes profits over workers’ health to set labor standards back decades for the sake of’same-day delivery,’” Gonzales writes. “This bill is just about restoring fundamental respect to workers and empowering them to protect themselves.”