New York bill targets Amazon’s use of productivity quotas


New York lawmakers passed legislation targeting the state’s use of warehouse productivity quotas, a move aimed at restricting metrics used by Amazon, which have come under closer scrutiny in recent years.

Work and safety advocates have long criticized the e-commerce giant’s use of productivity quotas, which track how workers pack and stow packages. When workers are inactive for a period of time, the company’s “time off” tool can trick them into taking too many breaks, which critics blame for the company’s injury rates.

A report released in April by the Strategic Organizing Center, a federation of four unions, found that Amazon employed 33% of all warehouse workers in the US in 2021 but was responsible for 49% of all injuries in the industry. Amazon CEO Andy Jassy has pushed back those results, but acknowledged in his letter to shareholders that the company’s bearing failure rates were “slightly higher than average” this month and said they were working to improve them.

The law, passed on Friday, would require the retail giant and other companies to give workers information about the quotas they are assigned, how those quotas are developed and how such things could be used by the employer to discipline them. It would also prohibit employers from imposing quotas that prevent workers from doing so take toilet breaks or rest periods.

Amazon fires two employees linked to union efforts in New York City


The legislation goes to Gov. Kathy Hochul, who has not indicated her support but has cast a critical eye on the Seattle-based company. Last month, she announced a state agency complaint against Amazon, alleging that the company had discriminated against pregnant and disabled workers by refusing reasonable accommodation and forcing them to take unpaid leave.

The legislation mimics a similar law that was enacted last year in California. State legislatures in Washington and New Hampshire have also introduced similar bills.

In New York, Amazon employees in the New York borough of Staten Island try to get recognition from the company after their assignment Union victory in April. But Amazon has appealed the election to the National Labor Relations Board to reverse the labor victory and call for new elections.

In Alabama, warehouse workers in the town of Bessemer voted 993 to 875 against forming a union in March. The Federal Labor Office said 416 contested votes could potentially nullify that result. A hearing to review the contested ballots was not scheduled.

Editor’s Note: The title of this story has been changed.

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