Few issues have precipitated the anger over deteriorating worker’s rights quite like the anticipated opening of an Amazon distribution center in the Bronx. According to NBC, big companies like Amazon have shown a disregard for health and safety regulation in recent years, with the Staten Island fulfillment center tripling the national average injury rate. As workers’ rights come under fire in the name of the relentless charge towards profit, it is important that Bronx natives know exactly what their rights are, how to exercise them, and how to secure a better deal for the future.
Avenues of redress
While many workers will benefit from union representation, this is not the be all and end all in preserving your rights in the workplace. As the showdown between rail worker union the TWU and rail authority MTA showed, employers are quite willing to place restrictions in contract that have an impediment on your health and safety. It’s absolutely crucial to be aware of how to address workplace negligence. If you are unionized, this is your first port of call, but aside from that it is important to retain the services of a personal injury attorney. Having an expert that can identify shortcomings at the part of the employer and work their way around contract loopholes that might be missed without legal assistance will be crucial to addressing problems as they arise.
Holding your employer accountable
Your employer is ultimately responsible for your safety while on their premises. It is their responsibility to put in reasonable adjustments and to make the workplace a safe place for you to operate and be productive. Regulating this requirement is OSHA, and they have been vigilant in collating and tackling issues as they have arisen. Ultimately, OSHA with employee cooperation; know about how to raise issues in your workplace, both through union or OSHA links, and do not be reticent with reporting known faults. The alternative, workplace injuries, is worse.
Improving the future
The good news is that the Bronx is already leading the nation when it comes to progressive worker legislation. The legal paid time bill working through state legislature, while nothing close to protections in place in the EU and elsewhere, will help millions of workers to enjoy a better work/life balance. Improving time off will, in turn, benefit levels of rest, and ultimately bring benefits to the workers with regards to their health and safety. A happy workplace is, ultimately, a happy one, and deals like this demonstrate how Bronx workers – and those in wider New York City – are more than willing to stand up for themselves and their rights in order to secure a better deal.
A strong working class brings benefits across the board, and when it comes to workplace safety, those workers need to look out for their interests. Primarily done through getting represented and finding effective defenders of rights, this extends into positive action to get better rights across the board. With positive changes to legislation, a safer future for all workers is on the horizon.