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California Bill Aims to Tighten Work Rules at Amazon, Retailers

A proposed California law aims to improve conditions for workers at facilities across Amazon and other retailers, a report says.

A proposed California law aims to improve conditions for workers at warehouses and package-sorting centers across Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report and other retailers, a media report says.

The warehouse-worker-protections law, Assembly Bill 701, is aimed at staffers who work in logistics and move packages to speed up delivery for Seattle online retail giant Amazon and rivals.

A report published by the San Francisco Chronicle says the law would restrict speed quotas. The law would not allow quotas to jeopardize worker health and safety, such as by requiring workers to take risky shortcuts or skip rest breaks. 

Companies that use quotas would have to outline them to workers and regulators. And the law would set out paths by which workers could challenge their working conditions.

Both the California Assembly and Senate have passed the bill. Gov. Gavin Newsom hasn’t said whether he will sign the labor law by an Oct. 10 deadline.

“The bill will be evaluated on its merits,” his office said in an email to the Chronicle.

Amazon declined comment to the Chronicle on the broad bill but said employee health and safety is its No. 1 priority.

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Critics called the law too broad and micromanaging, particularly in an industry in which consumers have come to expect fast service.

Amazon documents show it had 153,000 workers in California as of late 2020, many of whom work in its 60 fulfillment and sorting centers and 50 delivery stations, the Chronicle reported.

Last week, Amazon said it would hire an additional 125,000 employees in its logistics facilities ahead of the holiday season and pay them higher hourly wages.

The roles at warehouses and package sorting centers will pay an average of $18 an hour and up to $22.50 an hour in some locations, the Seattle-based tech giant said.

The additional workers will help Amazon achieve its same-day delivery goals.

The Seattle tech giant said that in some locations, sign-on bonuses of up to $3,000 are available.

Shares of Amazon and Walmart traded 3.50% lower and 1.22% lower respectively.