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Warehouse Worker Protection Act takes effect in New York, regulating abusive productivity quotas

Safer warehouse design is urgent next step in dangerous industry

New Yorkers for a Fair Economy coalition calls on NYS Assembly to pass the Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act, to design facilities for safety over profit

ALBANY, NY – The Warehouse Worker Protection Act (WWPA), passed by the NYS Legislature in June 2022 and signed by Governor Hochul in December, is now in effect in New York State. The legislation brings transparency to exploitative productivity quotas in the warehouse industry and helps workers at companies like Amazon learn their rights. It is part of a national movement to rein in corporate power and declining working conditions. Similar bills have been passed in California, Washington State, and most recently, Minnesota. 

In the absence of enforceable standards on warehouse production quotas, New York warehouse workers have experienced high rates of injuries—four times more 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 Protection Act (S8922/A10020) protects New York State workers doing manual warehouse work, including at warehouses operated by courier and delivery services, from the hazards of abusive production quotas. Sponsored by State Senator Jessica Ramos (D, SD-13) and Assemblymember Latoya Joyner (D, AD-77) and drafted with the New Yorkers for a Fair Economy coalition, the act will require major warehouse companies to provide their employees with documentation of their quotas at time of hire, or when the law takes effect for current employees. Employees must also be provided with copies of their quota when changes are made and have the right to request their quota at any time, even after their employment ends. Companies will no longer be able to discipline or fire workers on the basis of undisclosed quotas or impose quotas that interfere with workers’ lunch, rest, or bathroom breaks, and workers are protected from retaliation when exercising their rights under the act. And finally, if workers don’t receive documentation of their quotas or employers violate the law by firing workers who demand copies, workers can file complaints with the NYS Department of Labor (DOL) to investigate and enforce the law’s requirements.

While unions and advocates celebrate this clear victory for worker justice and corporate accountability, there is still more to be done to protect warehouse workers from injury. Even with the most abusive quotas limited, workers can still experience injury in poorly designed workplaces, and the New Yorkers for a Fair Economy coalition is fighting for the Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act as the essential next step in protecting thousands of New York warehouse workers. 

The NYS Senate passed the Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act (WWIRA, S5081/A03309) by a vote of 50-12 on June 6. If passed into law, the bill—also sponsored by State Senator Jessica Ramos and Assemblymember Latoya Joyner—would prevent worksite injuries and hold warehouse companies responsible for worker health and safety by requiring employers to implement injury reduction plans to identify and minimize the most common hazards and undergo annual evaluations by certified ergonomists. 

With the Assembly returning to Albany for session this week, the coalition is calling for the swift passage of this common-sense worker safety legislation, which would make New York a national leader in warehouse safety. Through better job design, safety standards, comprehensive worker training, and improved on-site medical care, WWIRA will keep workers safe on the job and make warehouse work sustainable.

“With the Warehouse Worker Protection Act in effect, New York takes a huge step forward to protect thousands of workers vulnerable to surveillance and retaliation,” said Katie Hayden, New Yorkers for a Fair Economy coalition spokesperson and ALIGN campaign coordinator. “But without movement on urgent safety bills like the Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act this session, New York leaves workers quite literally in a world of pain. We cannot wait for another tragic Amazon headline to take action; our state leaders must lead the way to safe and sustainable warehousing and pass this act today.”

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.