Two new bills introduced in Minnesota would address workplace safety issues at warehouses and meatpacking plants, if adopted.
State lawmakers introduced HF 36, which addresses warehouses for merchandise and mail-order houses, and HF 23, which would grant certain protections to meatpacking workers, according to Business Insurance.
This bill specifically addresses quotas for warehouse workers. It requires employers to provide any work expectations, such as work-speed requirements, in writing to employees. HF 36 also states that restroom breaks must be considered when crafting quotas.
Should an employer have an employee incidence rate 30% or more higher than a given year’s average incidence rate for similar nonfatal injuries and illnesses in that industry, the state would open an investigation into the violations.
New York adopted a similar law targeting warehouse quotas on Dec. 21, 2022.
HF 23 would require the state’s labor commissioner to appoint a meatpacking industry worker rights coordinator in the Department of Labor and Industry.
Under the bill, meat-processing workers would have a right to refuse work under conditions that the worker reasonably believes would expose them, co-workers or the public to unreasonable risk of illness or injury. That would also apply to infectious diseases, including COVID-19.
A provision in the bill would prohibit employers from retaliating against such employees.