Newsom signs law to hamstring warehouse production quotas

California’s newest labor law is going to change the way major retail outlets such as Amazon manage their massive warehouses.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 701, which supporters said will give warehouse workers protection from having rest periods and bathroom breaks limited because of production quotas.

The bill, which Newsom signed Wednesday, will require warehouse operations, most notably at retail giant Amazon, to disclose any production quota requirements to workers and ensure workers are given breaks and adequate time to use the restroom even if the quotas would prevent them.

Companies no longer can fire an employee for not meeting production quotas under the new law.

“We cannot allow corporations to put profit over people,” Newsom said in a statement. “The hardworking warehouse employees who have helped sustain us during these unprecedented times should not have to risk injury or face punishment as a result of exploitative quotas that violate basic health and safety.”

Businesses must give the California Labor Commissioner data on their employee quotas upon request under AB 701. The commissioner then could fine the businesses based on the data.

The bill also allows warehouse workers to file private lawsuits against the employer if they wish.

“Amazon’s business model relies on enforcing inhumane work speeds that are injuring and churning through workers at a faster rate than we’ve ever seen,” Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, said. “Workers aren’t machines. We’re not going to allow a corporation that puts profits over workers’ bodies to set labor standards back decades just for ‘same-day delivery.’ This bill is simply about giving workers some basic dignity back and empowering them to keep themselves safe. ”

Gonzalez also was the author of a controversial 2019 law that required gig workers such as Uber drivers to be classified as full-time employees who require benefits and paid leave.

Opponents of AB 701 warn it’s only going to make the current logistics issues on the west coast worse.

“We are disappointed Governor Newsom signed AB 701, which will exacerbate our current supply chain issues, increase the cost of living for all Californians and eliminate good-paying jobs,” said Rachel Michelin, president of the California Retailers Association and chair of the No on AB 701 coalition. “With California’s ports facing record backlogs of ships waiting off the coast and inflation spiking to the fastest pace in 13 years, AB 701 will make matters worse for everyone – creating more back-ordered goods and higher prices for everything from clothes, diapers and food to auto parts, toys and pet supplies.”

Michelin said the law is going to affect the state’s fight against COVID-19.

“Even worse, as the state, employers and families head into the fall and winter months and rely on COVID-19 tests to keep our communities safe, legislation like AB 701 will hamper these efforts by further slowing the movement of COVID-19 tests from warehouses and distribution centers to hospitals, pharmacies and doctors’ offices,” she said.





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California Gov. Newsom Signs State’s Biggest Ever $15 Billion Package on Climate Change

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a giant $15 billion climate package on Thursday that will direct money to an array of climate impacts facing the state.

The billion-dollar package is the largest such investment in state history and includes 24 bills covering everything from tackling wildfire and drought challenges, building climate resilience in communities, promoting sustainable agriculture, and advancing the climate agenda.

It also includes a $1.5 billion Wildfire and Forest Resilience Package which builds on a $536 million early action package back in April of this year ahead of peak fire season. The package also adds an additional $988 million in 2021-2022 which will be used to fund projects to reduce wildfire risk and improve the health of forests and wildlands, such as fuel reduction projects and fuel breaks.

The largest amount of funding—$5.2 billion—is being directed towards the Water and Drought Resilience package, which will be used to support immediate drought response and long-term water resilience over three years. This will be done via drought relief projects to secure and expand water supplies, among other things, and the focus will be on small and disadvantaged communities.

A further 3.7 billion is being directed to a Climate Resilience Package, which aims for the state to build resilience against the many climate risks facing it, including extreme heat and sea-level rise, over the next three years. The funding will focus on vulnerable front-line communities and will include projects that reduce the urban heat island effect, as well as greening projects.

Another $1.1 billion is going towards supporting “climate smart” and sustainable agriculture and to create a “resilient and equitable food system” as well as expand access to healthy food across schools and other public institutions.

A further $3.9 billion will be directed towards a Zero-Emission Vehicle package as California looks to lead the way in electric cars, with some of that funding being used to put 1,000 zero-emission drayage trucks, 1,000 zero-emission school buses, and 1,000 transit buses, and the necessary infrastructure, on California roads, focusing on disadvantaged communities.

Another $270 million will go to supporting a “circular economy that advances sustainability and helps reduce short-lived climate pollutants from the waste sector, and $150 million that will support urban waterfront parks, with a focus on underserved communities.”

“California is doubling down on our nation-leading policies to confront the climate crisis head-on while protecting the hardest-hit communities,” Newsom said in a statement announcing the new package.

“We’re deploying a comprehensive approach to meet the sobering challenges of the extreme weather patterns that imperil our way of life and the Golden State as we know it, including the largest investment in state history to bolster wildfire resilience, funding to tackle the drought emergency while building long-term water resilience, and strategic investments across the spectrum to protect communities from extreme heat, sea level rise and other climate risks that endanger the most vulnerable among us.”

The billion-dollar package comes following a string of blazes that have burned across California this summer, prompted by worsening drought conditions.

Earlier this month, Newsom said more than 7,400 wildfires have burned in the state this year, scorching more than 2.2 million acres, driven by higher temperatures and extreme drought condition

The wildfires threaten to burn some of the state’s famous and gigantic groves of old-growth sequoias in the Sierra Nevada, leaving locals to wrap them in protective aluminum foil insulation in a bid to save the trees, one of which is  2,300 to 2,700 years old.

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Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.



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Newsom Signs Bill Targeting Production Quotas at Amazon and Other Warehouse Operators

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a bill that restricts the ability of retailers like Amazon to enforce production quotas on warehouse workers, a move hailed by labor advocacy groups but opposed by business organizations as needless and burdensome.

The measure, called AB 701, passed the state assembly earlier in the month and was signed into law by Newsom on Sept. 23. The law, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, bars mega-retailers like Amazon from firing or retaliating against warehouse workers for missing quotas that interfere with bathroom and rest breaks.

It also requires greater transparency around production quotas, with large warehouse employers having to disclose quotas to workers within 30 days and provide authorities with detailed descriptions of productivity targets workers are expected to meet.

The law, which applies to all warehouse distribution centers, also allows employees to sue to suspend unsafe quotas or reverse retaliation.

“We cannot allow corporations to put profit over people. The hardworking warehouse employees who have helped sustain us during these unprecedented times should not have to risk injury or face punishment as a result of exploitative quotas that violate basic health and safety,” Newsom said in a statement.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom addresses reporters at the John L. Burton California Democratic Party headquarters in Sacramento, Calif., on Sept. 14, 2021. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP Photo)

The measure was authored by Democrat Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a lawyer and former labor leader, who accused Amazon of disciplining warehouse workers at the direction of “an algorithm” that tracks employees’ activities and can determine that anything not directly related to moving packages is “off-task.”

“We’ve heard disturbing stories of back-breaking working conditions in Amazon warehouses that use algorithms to enforce dangerous work speeds,” Gonzalez said in a statement following the bill’s passage by the Legislature.

“Amazon is pushing workers to risk their bodies for next-day delivery, while they can’t so much as use the restroom without fearing retaliation. AB 701 gives workers the tools and protections necessary to be able to speak up and seek real relief against the health and safety abuses they’ve experienced in these warehouses,” she said.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on AB 701.

Amazon worker
A worker assembles a box for delivery at the Amazon fulfillment center in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 30, 2019. (Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters)

Advocates of the bill view the legislation as a needed measure to protect the health and safety of workers.

“Thanks to AB 701, warehouse workers at places like Amazon will no longer be fired for simply using the restroom in the middle of their shift,” Ron Herrera, president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, said in a statement. “Workers can finally make a living instead of making a trip to the emergency room.”

A coalition of 27 business organizations led by the California Retailers Association objected to the measure, writing in an Aug. 30 letter (pdf) to state lawmakers that the bill is “both burdensome and needlessly overboard.”

“The specific complaints made by sponsors are already enforceable under existing occupational regulatory standards,” the coalition wrote, arguing that the bill creates substantial liability for businesses by providing plaintiffs’ attorneys “more grounds to leverage large settlements from warehouse employees.”

“This bill also establishes anti-retaliation provisions that will make it more costly and difficult to take job actions against underperforming employees,” the letter argues.

The business coalition also said that the measure would add costs on warehousing that will be passed onto consumers and would “have a chilling effect on production at distribution centers that will ripple through the rest of the supply chain.”

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Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he’s ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: ‘Hit your target’ and ‘leave the best for last.’



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Newsom victory squashes rural California, which prayed for regime change

From The Washington Examiner:

Voters from solid red inland California say they are devastated by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s victorious recall election, which was seen as a last chance at freedom that has been plucked away.

“I’m heartsick. I feel like this was the last off-ramp on the road to ruin, and we just missed it,” said Republican Rep. Tom McClintock, whose district includes Yosemite National Park.

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Newsom Signs Bills to Limit Single-Family Zoning in California

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday approved two measures that seek to make it easier to build more housing in the nation’s most populous state.

The first, Senate Bill 9, allows for the construction of more than one housing unit on land that was formerly designated for a single unit, without the approval of local authorities. The second, Senate Bill 10, would ease environmental rules on multi-family housing and allow for the construction of denser development near public transit corridors.

Newsom signed the most prominent legislation despite nearly 250 cities objecting that it will, by design, undermine local planning and control.

The outcome marks the latest battle between what’s come to be thought of as NIMBY vs. YIMBY. While most agree there is an affordable housing shortage, proposed construction often runs into “not in my backyard” opposition.

The state legislature has for years attempted to pass state preemption rules that force local governments to allow multi-family dwellings to be built in more residential neighborhoods. However, those efforts have been met with intense opposition from homeowners and suburban cities, The New York Times reported.

Newsom also announced that California will pour $1.75 billion into a scheme called the California Housing Accelerator, saying that it will expedite the construction of 6,500 affordable multi-family units that had been stalled due to constraints on the supply of tax-exempt bonds and low-income housing tax credits.

It’s part of $22 billion that the state plans to spend to spur new housing and ease homelessness along with the new laws.

The governor said in a news release that the plan marks the most significant investment in housing in the state’s history, with $10.3 billion proposed for housing and over $12 billion for the unhoused.

Newsom has made fighting homelessness a centerpiece of his administration and said he was spurred to even more urgency by a recall election that threatened to unseat him in midterm. He survived when nearly two-thirds of voters decided to keep him in office this week.

“The housing affordability crisis is undermining the California Dream for families across the state, and threatens our long-term growth and prosperity,” Newsom said in a news release. “Making a meaningful impact on this crisis will take bold investments, strong collaboration across sectors, and political courage from our leaders and communities to do the right thing and build housing for all.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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A Big Win for Newsom, But a Bigger Defeat for GOP

A Big Win for Newsom, But a Bigger Defeat for GOP

(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Lincoln Mitchell writes that White women voters’ support for the California governor in the recall election should worry the GOP because that’s usually a big part of their base, and if this demographic continues to abandon the party, suburban districts around the state and country will trend more Democratic and leave the GOP scrambling to figure out how to advance its political agenda and how to win back voters.

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How The Newsom Recall Cemented California As A Leftist Sanctuary State

On this episode of The Federalist Radio Hour, Federalist Western Correspondent Tristan Justice and Staff Writer Jordan Davidson break down how the failed recall of California Gov. Gavin Newsom cemented the state as a leftist paradise.

“I think one of the biggest takeaways from this recall race is that California, if it hadn’t already, really cemented itself as this progressive paradise where the elite lockdowns are not only accepted but they’re welcomed,” Justice said. “And the hypocrisy that comes with them and the creation of this kind of two-class system are breeding the very inequalities that liberals claim to demise — [that] is the new norm going forward.”

Davidson agreed there’s “a willingness by people after the pandemic to accept what they’re being told.”

“And that’s not always bad but there’s just not another layer to it. They just accept it at face value and that’s all they need,” she said. “So I’m not sure that with that attitude, especially in an area where that attitude is so prolific, in a progressive paradise, that you will get back to normal.”






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California Democrats seek to tighten ‘flawed’ recall system after Newsom avoids ouster

For California Democrats, one of the lessons from the failed recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom is that the state should make it tougher to recall governors.

Democratic state Sen. Steve Glazer and Assemblymember Marc Berman announced Wednesday they plan to hold hearings in the next few months to “fix a broken system” with the goal of proposing revisions to the “flawed recall” structure during the 2022 legislative session.

“Now that the recall is over, I believe it is time to re-evaluate and update California’s recall process,” Mr. Glazer said in a press release. “The voters want to see a more democratic process put in place that keeps elected officials accountable, but prevents political gamesmanship of the rules.”

Meanwhile, the pro-Democrat advocacy group Indivisible Ventura launched a “Reform the Recall” campaign to address California’s “recall madness” after the Sept. 14 special election, describing it as a “GOP temper tantrum.”

At the top of the Democrats’ to-do list is changing the rule that allows the ousted official to be succeeded by the replacement candidate with the most votes, even if the challenger receives less than the majority of the vote or fewer votes than the recall target.

“California law should not allow someone else to be recalled and replaced by a candidate who receives far fewer votes,” Mr. Berman said in a statement.

Republicans pointed out that Democrats already have reworked the rules: Ahead of the 2018 recall of Democratic state Sen. Josh Newman, the state legislature passed measures giving state officials more latitude in drawing out the recall date and petition-signers 30 days to remove their names.

“What do you do when you don’t like the rules? You try to change the rules,” state Republican National Committeewoman Harmeet K. Dhillon said on Fox Business. “They don’t like the game. He already changed them a couple of times, when Democrats were at risk of losing a Senate seat from a recall.”

She said the 2017 legislative changes helped Mr. Newsom by allowing his lieutenant governor to schedule the recall for September.

“In this case, he benefited from the anticipated deadline for the recall by moving it up two months so that he was able to run in September and not November, when the situation was likely to be more oppressive with Covid restrictions,” Ms. Dhillon said.

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, one of the Republican recall candidates, brought up the provision allowing the recall target to raise unlimited funds, which permitted the anti-recall camp to outraise the opposition by an estimated 5 to 1.

Newsom‘s allies are already moving to ‘fix’ the Recall process,” Mr. Kiley tweeted. “I wonder if that includes the quirk of unlimited campaign contributions that allowed him to flood our TV screens with what the AP called out as lies.”

Ironically, California’s 1911 recall law was instituted by a leftist, Gov. Hiram Johnson of the Progressive Party, but the law in recent years has been used almost exclusively against Democrats, who hold veto-proof supermajorities in both legislative houses and control all elective state offices.

Among the proposed changes being sought by Indivisible are rules that would replace a recalled governor with the lieutenant governor, instead of a replacement candidate; allow the recall target to run to replace himself; and require “just cause” for a recall.

Other ideas include raising the signature limit, which is currently 12% of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election, and increasing the initial filing requirement of $4,000 and 65 signatures.

A UC Berkeley Institute for Governmental Studies poll released Monday found that 75% favor retaining the recall but also found majority support for several changes, including a runoff system if no replacement candidate receives the majority of the vote.

California voters rejected Tuesday’s recall by 63.8% to 36.2%, according to the latest count, or roughly the same percentage that elected Mr. Newsom in 2018.

Critics argue that even under the current rules, recalling a state officeholder is still an uphill battle.

There have been 55 gubernatorial recall attempts since 1911, and only two of them have qualified for the ballot: the 2021 Newsom recall, which failed, and the 2003 recall of Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, which passed.

Of the 179 recall attempts for all officeholders since 1913, only 11 have qualified for the ballot. Six of those were successful, according to the California Secretary of State’s office.

The Democrats’ Mr. Glazer and Mr. Berman argued that political operatives in recent years have taken advantage of the system.

“More than 70% of the attempts to recall elected state officials that have qualified for the ballot, including the only two statewide recall elections in California history, have occurred in the last 27 years,” they said in a press release. “Each of California’s last nine Governors has faced multiple recall attempts, though only two of those attempts have qualified for the ballot.”

Before Tuesday’s vote, the state finance department estimated the cost of the Newsom recall at $276 million, although state officials say the final cost may reach $300 million.

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Los Angeles Announces Vaccine Passports Day After Gov. Newsom Survives Recall Election

Los Angeles County issued a health order that will require residents to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination at indoor bars, wineries, breweries, nightclubs, and lounges, according to the county health director Dr. Barabara Ferrer.

Officials made the announcement one day after California Gov. Gavin Newsom survived the recall election against him.

Patrons and employees will be required to have at least one dose of the vaccine by Oct. 7, and their second dose by Nov. 4.

In California, patrons of indoor events with more than 1,000 attendees were already required to show proof of vaccination or proof of a negative Covid-19 test. The new health order will apply to outdoor events as well.

All participants, including employees, of large outdoor events with crowds of over 10,000 people will be required to show proof of vaccination or proof of a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours. The requirement will also apply to theme parks.

Restaurants will not be required to verify the vaccination status of indoor diners, but health officials strongly recommend it.

Gov. Gavin Newsom told Democrats after surviving the recall race that it is their “moral authority” to “lean in” to Covid-19 mandates. Photo by Shae Hammond for CalMatters

The health order, which officials will implement this week, comes one day after Gov. Gavin Newsom survived the recall election against him. Newsom signaled that more Covid-19 mandates could come after telling Democrats to “lean into” pandemic mandates and restrictions.

“Don’t be timid. Lean in,” said Newsom. “Because at the end of the day, it’s not just about formal authority of setting the tone and tenor on masks, on vaccines, and masks. But it’s the moral authority that we have.”

California Democrat lawmakers shelved bills issuing more Covid-19 restrictions days before the recall election. However, the legislature has indicated that they are likely to re-examine those bills in January, 2022.



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One Day After Resounding Recall Win, Newsom Says Leaders ‘Shouldn’t Be Timid’ on COVID Prevention Measures


News



 September 16, 2021 at 7:32am


California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday that Democrats should take an even more aggressive approach in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, pointing to his recent recall election win as evidence that such a strategy was popular.

“We need to stiffen our spines and lean into keeping people safe and healthy,” Newsom told CBS News in an interview.

“We shouldn’t be timid in trying to protect people’s lives and mitigate the spread and transmission of this disease.”

“At the end of the day,” Newsom added, “it’s not just about formal authority of setting the tone and tenor on masks — on vaccines and masks.”

“But it’s the moral authority that we have: that we’re on the right side of history and we’re doing the right thing to save people’s lives.”

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GOP Rep Introduces Bill That Would Make It a Lot Harder for House Leaders to Lie

Newsom just days ago cruised to victory against a Republican-led recall election, with approximately two-thirds of California voters opting to keep him in office as of Thursday morning with 75 percent of the results tabulated.

Though Newsom was favored to win in deep-blue California, his nearly 30-point victory is far higher than most recent polls and is an exponentially bigger margin than the 0.2 percent spread polls showed just over a month ago.

President Joe Biden campaigned alongside Newsom in California on Monday, days after he announced a sweeping push to vaccinate employees of larger companies and federal and health care workers.

Content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of the DCNF’s original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Should Californians have voted Newsom out when they had the chance?

A version of this article appeared on the Daily Caller News Foundation website.



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