California is preparing to pass a new bill that conflicts with productivity measurement algorithms used in Amazon warehouses.
The bill, which revolves around warehouse labor issues, is due for a vote in the Senate this week.
If it becomes law, the legislation could require Amazon and other warehouse companies to make major changes.
Bill AB-701, which the state assembly passed in May, forces warehouse operators to be transparent about automated quota systems and blocks any systems that would put workers’ health and safety at risk.
came in Legislation summary The proposed bill would provide that an employee would not be required to fulfill a quota that would prevent compliance with meal or rest periods, use of restroom facilities, or occupational health and safety laws.
The bill also seeks to prevent employers from penalizing employees who do not meet quotas that do not allow them to take breaks or comply with health and safety rules.
And if workers can’t realistically meet Amazon’s productivity expectations, the company may have to cut quotas in the state.
Many of the e-commerce giant’s workers spoke of waiving or minimizing rest periods to ensure they met their quotas.
According to reports, the company’s expectations have led to many delivery drivers urinating into bottles and coffee mugs rather than taking the time to use the restroom.
Warehouse workers shared similar complaints. The company closely monitors worker productivity, including how long each employee spends away from their stations.
Last year, it emerged that Amazon expects workers to scan 400 items per hour in fulfillment centers that use robots.
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California may force Amazon to improve working conditions
According to a report by the Center for Investigative Reporting, the rate of serious infections in these warehouses was 50 percent higher than Amazon’s non-automated warehouses.
Repetitive stress injuries are a problem in automated warehouses. Workers respond to the speed at which the machine is moving, resulting in a higher incidence of repetitive motions and therefore repetitive injuries.
Amazon announced some measures aimed at curbing warehouse infections in May. Plans included meditation booths and areas where workers could stretch, as well as hourly mind-body prompts.
The company has a long history of controversial business practices. At the beginning of this year, it closed a warehouse in Chicago where workers staged strikes and protests for better working conditions.
Some of those employees said they were given the choice between working 10-hour shifts at other fulfillment centers. Or find a new job.
In August, a National Labor Relations Board official recommended that workers at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama hold another union vote.
The Retail, Wholesale and Supermarket Association has accused Amazon of violating labor laws by interfering with the process.
The bill says: No worker should be compelled to sacrifice basic human needs, or to accept unreasonable terms in exchange for wages.
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