FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 25, 2022
Contact: Chelsea Connor | [email protected] | 347-866-6259
STATEMENT ON THE PASSAGE OF THE WAREHOUSE WORKER PROTECTION ACT
(NEW YORK, NY) – Unsafe work speeds, unreasonable work quotas, dangerous work, and insufficient breaks all contribute to the skyrocketing rate of injuries and sickness in the warehousing industry, which is why the RWDSU pushed for the introduction of the Warehouse Worker Protection Act (WWPA – A10020/S8922) this year. Today, the critically needed WWPA was signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), issued the following statement:
“Regulations protecting workers in the warehousing industry have lagged far behind its rapid growth until today. The RWDSU has long prioritized the challenge of protecting warehouse workers from stress induced injuries and illness from limitless quotas and it’s why we pushed for the introduction of the Warehouse Worker Protection Act (WWPA – A10020/S8922) this year.
“Warehouse facilities are popping up across New York at staggering numbers; Amazon alone has opened more than 70 facilities in the state and over half of those facilities have been built since January 2021. At the same time, we have seen increased stress, pain, and resulting safety issues for warehouse workers, due to increased quotas and speeds. Due to extreme, unknown and unreasonable work quotas warehouse workers have suffered heart attacks, strokes, repetitive motion injuries, and irreparable life-long joint and back pain. At Amazon, the injury rate is 54% higher than the average rate for the state’s warehousing industry – and even that is a staggering misrepresentation of the reality given how many injuries at Amazon go unreported.
“Today, we’ve achieved a big win for workers’ safety. Thank you to the bill sponsors New York State Senator Jessica Ramos and Assemblymember Latoya Joyner for their leadership on this commonsense health and safety bill, the NYS legislature for passing this critical safety measure, and Governor Kathy Hochul for signing it into law today. The WWPA can start helping workers who need it now more than ever,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).
BACKGROUND ON (WWPA – A10020/S8922):
Modeled after similar legislation signed into law in California last year, the WWPA will help protect workers from inhumane quotas – quotas that have caused workers lifelong injuries and outrageously, in some cases, their lives. The law will require that quotas, which are oftentimes completely unknown to workers, be transparent. And it will prevent workers from being disciplined if they fail to achieve these quotas due to the worker meeting basic human needs like bathroom and water breaks. Research shows that many of these injuries and illnesses are preventable and are the result of mismanagement that prioritizes speed and productivity for profits over workers’ safety. The WWPA creates important boundaries to protect warehouse industry workers from the brutal line speeds and quotas that are driving injuries and sickness at New York’s warehouses.
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The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) represents 100,000 members throughout the United States. The RWDSU is affiliated with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW). For more information, please visit our website at www.rwdsu.org, Facebook:/RWDSU.UFCW Twitter:@RWDSU.