In This Section

ALBANY, NY (March 12, 2024) – Unions and advocates from the New Yorkers for a Fair Economy coalition released the following statements today in response to the State Senate and Assembly one-house budget proposals and in support of the Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act:

Theodore A. Moore, Executive Director of ALIGN:
“We’re disappointed to see the Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act left out of the one-houses because it’s a win-win-win—it’s good for workers, it’s good for business, and it’s good for the state. $5 million is a fraction of the budget and a small price to protect thousands of workers from injury, reduce turnover, and relieve the burden to our workers’ comp and healthcare systems. There’s still time to get it right in the final budget; we thank Senator Ramos and Assemblymember Bronson for their steadfast support, and we’ll keep fighting alongside our champions to stop New York’s warehouse injury crisis.”

Stuart Appelbaum, President, The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU)
“Warehousing is one of the fastest growing industries in New York and one of the most dangerous. New York needs to act swiftly to address the growing crisis of warehouse worker injuries. The thousands of injuries each year in New York’s warehouses has an impact on our families, our communities, the Workers’ Comp system, and even factors into the opiate crisis. New York must pass the Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction program to protect warehouse workers throughout the state. We hope to see this issue addressed in the final state budget.”

Thomas Gesualdi, President of Teamsters Joint Council 16:
“We need the Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act included in the final State Budget because warehouse workers are facing a safety crisis in New York. As Amazon has built dozens of warehouses across the state, injuries have gone up and up. The time to act is now: we must mandate that safety be put first in these warehouses and ensure the Department of Labor has the funding it needs to enforce the law.”

The coalition is calling for $5 million in the 2024 NYS budget to implement the Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act (S5081/A8907) and address the state’s rampant warehouse safety crisis. Lifting and twisting with heavy boxes and repetitive awkward motions in warehouse work can cause muscle strains, sprains, and tendonitis. With the rise of e-commerce, warehousing has become one of New York’s fastest growing industries. But it is also among the most dangerous, with 1 in 11 warehouse workers injured annually—four times more often than in any other industry in the state and at a rate 54% higher than the national average. The most serious of these injuries cause workers to miss time or need a job transfer, and can have lifelong impacts on worker health while employers experience high turnover and New York’s healthcare and workers’ comp systems are further burdened. 

In order to effectively combat the crisis and foster safer environments for warehouse employees, the new legislation:

  • Requires expert evaluation of each large warehouse for potential risks of injury.
  • Establishes consistent safety standards across the industry.
  • Mandates effective worker training on the prevention of injury and the formation of worker health and safety committees to address worksite hazards.
  • Improves on-site medical care to ensure that warehouse workers with symptoms of musculoskeletal injuries receive appropriate treatment and medical referral in a timely manner.
  • Provides additional resources for the state to implement and enforce regulations.

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.