Warehouse Workers, Teamsters, Community & Labor Leaders from Across the State Call on Senate to Pass AB 701
(Sacramento, CA) As the end of session approaches, warehouse workers, labor leaders, elected officials, and community groups held a fully interactive warehouse demonstration and press conference at the steps of the California State Capitol calling on elected officials to support the Warehouse Workers Protection Act, AB 701, the warehousing policy aimed at decreasing worker injury and creating transparency of debilitating quotas from giant corporations, such as Amazon and Walmart.
Click here to view photos of the event.
“The California Labor Movement is pushing for the passage of AB-701 because warehouse workers for the largest retailers on the planet like Amazon and Walmart are demanding safer working conditions,” said Ron Herrera, President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. “This policy provides the tools that are needed to keep workers safe in a growing industry plagued with widespread injuries and labor violations. We are unified in this fight to ensure that the wealthiest retailers on the planet are held accountable to the warehouse workers who power our economy.”
AB 701, authored by CA Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (AD 80), “the Warehouse Workers Protection Act” would protect frontline warehouse workers by requiring employers to disclose quotas and work speed standards to workers and state enforcement agencies. It would also prohibit employers from penalizing workers for time spent complying with health and safety laws. This bill is the first of its kind in the nation and begins to set standards for the future of algorithmic based work.
“Imagine the courage that it takes to stand up to an entire industry that breaks down bodies and requires workers to work so fast and so hard that they cannot take bathroom breaks,” said CA Senate Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles). An industry that leaves them disabled after just a few months. Well, that’s what these men and women are doing, they speak out and when they speak out, some of them are fired, unions are blocked and women are silenced.”
“Warehouse workers perform very dangerous work and have disproportionately suffered job related injuries in their workplaces,” said Ash Kalra, CA Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose). “The COVID-19 pandemic and consumer demands have increased the dangers for warehouse workers and e-commerce giants, like Amazon, have continued to set increasingly brutal work quotas for their workers in order to fulfill orders and maximize their profits. We want companies to be profitable, but we want them to be profitable in a just and moral manner, not in a manner that hurts workers. Not in a manner that takes advantage and exploits our work.”
At over 600 square-feet, including a conveyor belt and shelving, the immersive experience gave participants a glimpse of the brutal mental and physical stress that warehouse workers experience day-in and day-out.
Big business interests and retail giants like Amazon have already doubled their efforts to stop the bill with misleading social media ads and the use of corporate lobbyists to sway votes.
Amazon’s own records show that its workers were injured on the job at double the average rate of the general warehousing industry and triple the average rate across all private employers in 2018. In fact, Amazon warehouse workers are injured more frequently than coal miners, lumberjacks, trash collectors, and police officers.
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