Following Amazon Rally & Practice Picket in Hudson Valley,
40+ Unions, Community Groups Call on Governor Hochul to
Protect Warehouse Workers Amid Grueling Holiday Shopping Season
New Yorkers for a Fair Economy coalition launches campaign to pass the Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act in NYS budget, designing facilities for safety over profit
ALBANY, NY (November 28, 2023) – Today, more than 40 unions, advocacy organizations, and community groups released a letter calling on Governor Hochul and New York state leaders to protect warehouse workers. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the extended holiday shopping season is one of the busiest and most dangerous times of the year for warehouse workers, as orders pour in, deliveries stack up, and workers lift and twist repeatedly with heavy, awkward boxes. Yesterday, Amazon workers and labor allies rallied outside of the company’s massive SWF1 warehouse in the Hudson Valley to protest low wages and dangerous working conditions. The workers, organizing as SWF1United, have been petitioning and marching inside the facility for months to improve conditions. The New Yorkers for a Fair Economy coalition is calling for the Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act (S5081/A3309) to be passed in the 2024 state budget, to hold employers accountable for workplace safety and require warehouses statewide to be designed to protect workers over profit.
In 2022, the coalition—including ALIGN, RWDSU, Teamsters, National Employment Law Project, and NY Committee for Occupational Health & Safety, among others—won transparency for harmful productivity quotas with the Warehouse Worker Protection Act. However, workers are still susceptible to injury in unsafe worksites. New York warehouse workers experience injury four times more often than the average New York worker. And Amazon workers are injured at an even higher rate, with one in 12 full-time workers experiencing injury at Amazon’s New York facilities.
The Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act (WWIRA)—sponsored by State Senator Jessica Ramos and Assemblymember Latoya Joyner—is the natural next step to protect warehouse workers through better jobsite design, safety standards, training, and regulated on-site medical care. The bill would require employers to implement injury reduction plans to identify and minimize the most common hazards and undergo annual safety evaluations, making warehouse work safer and more sustainable. The coalition is pushing for $5 million in the New York State budget to fund program administration and enforcement by the Department of Labor.
“Amazon designs warehouses to get products out fast, not for the human body,” said Katie Hayden, New Yorkers for a Fair Economy coalition spokesperson and ALIGN campaign manager. “But they’re not going to regulate themselves when it impacts their profit margins. It’s up to New York to protect our working families. This is urgent, common-sense legislation that Governor Hochul must prioritize in the 2024 budget.”
“Amazon violates New York’s Warehouse Worker Protection Act every day and specifically they are unclear about the unreasonable rates they make us work through,” said Taina Dominguez, an Amazon warehouse worker at SWF1. “With Cyber Monday and the holiday shopping season here, we are in danger unless we stand together and force Amazon to put our safety first.”
About New Yorkers for a Fair Economy
New Yorkers for a Fair Economy (NYFE) is a coalition of labor unions, small businesses, and immigrant and community organizations uniting to safeguard our state from the abusive practices of big corporations and achieve an economy that works for all New Yorkers. NYFE is led by ALIGN (Alliance for a Greater New York) and includes labor unions Teamsters Joint Council 16 and Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union; community groups like New York Communities for Change and New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health; and research and advocacy organizations like National Employment Law Project and Strategic Organizing Center, among others.