Assemblywoman Gonzalez’s Bill to Protect Warehouse Workers from Dangerous Working Conditions Approved by Senate Committee

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – (Monday, July 5, 2021) – Workplace injuries in warehouses have skyrocketed as a result of online retail giants like Amazon subjecting their workers to debilitating work speeds and relentless production quotas. Today, Assembly Bill 701 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to strengthen warehouse workers’ rights against arbitrary and abusive production quota systems was passed by the Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee. 
 
“To make next-day delivery possible, corporations like Amazon have forced warehouse employees to work faster, service more customers with more orders in record amounts of time, and risk their own bodies in the process,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez said. “No worker should be forced to sacrifice their basic human needs, or accept such undignified conditions for a paycheck. We cannot accept this as the new future of work.” 
 
Amazon manages their workers’ productivity through a system of constant surveillance, which often results in workers having to compromise safety rules to keep up with their debilitating quotas. Yesenia Barrera, a former seasonal employee at an Amazon warehouse facility in the Inland Empire, said she had to endure 10-hour days without proper meal or bathroom breaks, or any overtime pay. 
 
“Workers end up getting injuries in the back, shoulders, knees, wrist, and those are sprains, strains, tears, and bruising due to the speed of the work,” Barrera said. “We show up every day to do our job and work our hardest, but we can still get fired because of our speed.”
 
AB 701 would make it clear that companies cannot discipline or fire a warehouse worker for failing to meet a quota that does not allow them to take meal and rest breaks and comply with health and safety laws. Any time an employee spends complying with health and safety requirements is considered “time on task” for purposes of any quota or monitoring system. 

The bill also directs the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) to establish new standards by January 1, 2023 to minimize the risk of injuries and disorders among warehouse employees who are subject to production quotas.

For questions or to schedule an interview with Assemblywoman Gonzalez, contact Mike Blount: Mike.Blount@asm.ca.gov