Hochul Signs Warehouse Worker Protection Act Into Law

warehouse worker
Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the Warehouse Worker Protection Act in December 2022. She also vetoed state legislation that would have allowed an Amazon warehouse to be built at a Freeport park
Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the Warehouse Worker Protection Act on Dec. 21, which protects warehouse workers from undisclosed or unlawful work speed quotas.

The New York legislation takes aim at unreasonably demanding work quotas by requiring employers to disclose work speed data and protecting workers who fail to meet an undisclosed or illegal speed quota. 

“Every worker in New York State deserves to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect,” Hochul said. “I’m proud to sign the Warehouse Worker Protection Act into law to expand protections for hardworking warehouse employees.”

Distribution centers will now be required to disclose work speed data to their current and former employees so that workers have information about their performance and workplace rights. The new law, which is not limited to the online retail giant Amazon’s distribution centers, also ensures that workers will not face disciplinary action or termination solely due to failure to meet an undisclosed work speed quota or a speed quota that does not allow for adequate break time.

“Teamster members have spent decades fighting for strong safety standards in the warehouse industry, but Amazon’s growth is again putting workers in danger,” said Teamsters Joint Council 16 President Thomas Gesualdi. “This is a real victory in our continuing fight for rights and collective bargaining for all warehouse workers so they have a voice on the job and can protect themselves.”

Amazon has been rapidly growing its number of New York warehouses in the past two years. It has opened more than 70 facilities in the state, and more than half were built since January 2021, according to Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU)

“At the same time, we have seen increased injury rates for warehouse workers,” Appelbaum said. “Due to extreme work quotas, warehouse workers have suffered heart attacks, strokes, repetitive motion injuries, and irreparable lifelong joint and back pain. Today, we’ve achieved a big win for workers’ safety.”

Teamsters Joint Council 16 also celebrated in December 2022 Hochul’s veto of legislation that would have allowed developers to build a distribution center at Cleveland Avenue Fields in Freeport. The Village of Freeport had approved the green space’s sale to Panattoni Group, which frequently builds Amazon warehouses. The governor vetoed state legislation that approved the village’s decision, thus preventing the destruction of the park for e-commerce use.

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