Amazon warehouse employees stroll off job at Southern California air hub

Warehouse employees at Amazon’s largest air freight facility on the West Coast walked off the job Monday, demanding increased pay and aid from scorching situations they are saying are unsafe.

Organizers with a bunch referred to as Inland Empire Amazon Staff United mentioned in a Facebook post that 160 workers walked out on the San Bernardino Worldwide Airport facility, which is a important a part of Amazon’s logistics community and one of many firm’s three U.S. “air hubs.”

In an announcement, Amazon officers disputed the quantity, saying that 74 out of roughly 1,500 workers on the facility walked out.

About 900 workers on the San Bernardino airport have signed a petition calling for base pay to be elevated from $17 per hour to $22 per hour, Inland Empire Amazon Staff United mentioned in an announcement.

“Amazon might ship a better customary for employees, however they don’t,” mentioned Sara Charge, who has labored on the air hub because it opened in March 2021. “A warehouse is only a warehouse. An organization is only a firm. The persons are what makes all of it work, and we’re robust and united to struggle for what we deserve.”

Amazon is the most important personal sector employer within the Inland Empire, organizers mentioned. Of the greater than 200,000 warehouse employees within the area, 1 in 5 work at Amazon services.

“Amazon promised the Inland Empire high quality jobs,” organizers mentioned in another Facebook post. “They didn’t ship. Amazon has compelled us to work in excessive warmth, barely paid us sufficient to afford hire, and now we’re being retaliated in opposition to for talking up.”

Paul Flaningan, an Amazon spokesperson, mentioned the corporate respects workers’ proper to make their opinions identified exterior the office and that there have been “many established methods” that employees can voice issues internally.

“We’re proud to offer full-time workers at our San Bernardino Air Hub and all through the area a minimal beginning wage of $17 an hour,” Flaningan mentioned. “Relying on their shift, our full-time workers can earn as much as $19.25 an hour and obtain industry-leading advantages together with healthcare from Day 1, 401(okay) with 50% firm match, and as much as 20 weeks paid parental go away.”

Amazon officers are repeatedly listening to issues and taking a look at methods they will enhance, he mentioned, including that the corporate gives aggressive pay, complete advantages and an “participating, secure work expertise.”

In July, employees submitted a petition calling for pay will increase throughout Amazon’s Prime Week gross sales occasion, saying their wages are usually not sufficient to reside on in Southern California.

Within the petition, workers mentioned employees making $17 per hour and dealing 40 hours per week take house about $2,200 per 30 days, however the common hire in California is $1,700 and the typical in San Bernardino is $1,650, “which means that over 75% of our earnings goes to hire alone.”

“We will barely afford to reside in immediately’s economic system,” the petition mentioned.

The employees additionally expressed involved about unsafe working situations attributable to extreme warmth.

Throughout July, temperatures reached at the least 95 levels on the airport on 24 days, organizers mentioned.

When workers confronted managers, Amazon created an extra relaxation space, however unsafe situations stay “in lots of work areas,” based on the assertion.

“Working within the warmth looks like you might be suffocating,” mentioned Melissa Ojeda, who has labored on the facility for greater than a 12 months. “You have to take breaks and you may overheat actually simply. They don’t make it simple to take breaks to permit your physique to chill down.”

When the San Bernardino air hub opened final 12 months, organizers mentioned, some in the neighborhood raised issues concerning the high quality of jobs on the facility and its results on air pollution.

A 2018 research discovered that Amazon’s flights into and out of airports in Riverside and San Bernardino counties launched about 620,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the ambiance and that the 2 counties had the worst ozone air pollution within the nation, air pollution that was largely attributed to the warehousing {industry}, based on Amazon Staff United’s assertion.

Amazon operates 14 flights a day out and in of the 24-hour facility on the positioning of the previous Norton Air Power Base, the organizers mentioned.

“Amazon has mentioned its purpose is to function 26 flights a day,” they mentioned. “The variety of employees on the warehouse fluctuates, at the moment about 1,300 however greater than 1,800 in peak season, demonstrating the dearth of stability in these Amazon jobs.”

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