SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the National Employment Law Project (NELP) and the Awood Center released a report on the impact of harmful practices that Amazon uses at warehouses in Minnesota. The report details high worker injury rates, racial pay inequities, high turnover, and harmful surveillance and discipline practices at Amazon warehouses in Minnesota.
Rep. Emma Greenman (DFL – Minneapolis) plans to introduce legislation to address issues raised by Amazon workers and detailed in the report.
“All Minnesotans deserve to be safe and respected on the job,” said Rep. Greenman. “When Amazon warehouse workers tell us their stories and show us data detailing intolerable injury rates and unacceptable practices, we must listen and act. I will work to hold Amazon accountable and ensure every Minnesotan has access to a good job in a safe and equitable workplace.
“It is unacceptable that one of the most profitable companies in America is maximizing profit at the expense of the health and wellbeing of Minnesota workers. Amazon’s labor practices treat their own workers as disposable while also reinforcing racial pay inequities and economic insecurity. Exploitative practices that threaten the safety of workers are unacceptable in Minnesota.”
Rep. Rob Ecklund (DFL – International Falls), chair of the House Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee is interested in holding a public hearing so current and former Amazon workers can share their stories and concerns. Their testimony will shape the legislation Rep. Greenman develops.
“Health, safety, and dignity in the workplace – including fair pay – are values we should all share, and reports from Amazon facilities are deeply troubling,” Rep. Ecklund said. “Especially as the company’s economic footprint continues to grow, a closer look at Amazon’s workplace standards is warranted. I look forward to a discussion soon, with workers at the table, about how we can strengthen their safety and how Amazon can raise its workplace standards.”
Rep. Greenman is working on legislation to ensure warehouse workers have the power to protect themselves and their coworkers on the job. The legislation will include transparent and reasonable standards including requirements that companies notify warehouse workers of quotas, workspeeds, or other methods workers are subjected to and strengthen laws to ensure workers have time to eat lunch and use the bathroom. Other measures may improve transparency and reporting of work safety data and strengthen the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s ability to protect warehouse workers from unsafe and exploitative workplace practices.