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Cyber Monday 2016 at Amazon Fulfillment Center in Dupont WA. (Photo by GeekWire/Kevin Lisota)

New York passes law to limit warehouse productivity quotas

Pending Governor Kathy Hochul’s signature, a bill was passed in the New York State Assembly to limit productivity quotas in warehouse companies. The bill is tagged Warehouse Worker Protection Act and it openly targets labour practices at Amazon warehouses.

According to insiders, Amazon has an internal system that marks workers as taking a time off when they take too long to scan packages. And, this could get them fired as it alerts supervisors.

The problem with the system, as complaints have shown, is that it disregards what could be happening in the middle of tasks. For example, a worker could be taking long due to a medical condition or injury that occurred while dispatching their duties but the quota system would not recognise this.

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New York State Senator Jessica Ramos and Assembly Member Latoya Joyner introduced the act in April 2022 and the State Assembly expanded on the language before passing it.

The bill requires Amazon and other companies that own warehouses to give their workers a documentation of productivity quota and let them know when changes arise. That way, workers know what they are dealing with upfront and can choose to stay with the company or leave.

In addition, the companies will have to scrutinise all the duties of their workers before coming up with productivity quotas. And, the act prevents companies from using unrealistic quota expectations. For example, quotas that prevent workers from taking a meal or having bathroom breaks are abolished under the act.

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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.