Around thirty workers marched out of a warehouse in Southern California, unwilling to return to work until their employer addresses issues relating to their current working conditions.
These men and women are employed by a temp agency and they lack access to basic necessities such as clean drinking water, a direct violation of California’s labor law. The workers went on strike after they were asked to work in freight containers that had become extremely hot and unsafe due to high summer temperature in the area. They claim that management denies them legally-mandated breaks despite dangerous heat conditions and that it has not even supplied the working equipment they need to fill their outsized quotas.
The workers have the support of Warehouse Workers United, but they are not unionized. They have filed numerous complaints and lawsuits against their employer claiming a plethora of violations ranging from legal issues to threats from supervisors to deny them rest breaks.
The University of California, Riverside recently conducted a study that surveyed thousands of laborers in the warehouse sprawl that covers much of the Riverside and San Bernardino area. The study found that 40% of respondents reported that pressure from management resulted in injury or illness, while only 22% had received any training at all and 90% felt constantly pressured by management to work faster. “Our research strongly suggests that public policy changes and community support are needed to ensure workplace safety,” the study reports, concluding that a reversal of regulatory cutbacks will be necessary to maintain adequate scrutiny.
Image: Warehouse Workers United
The version of capitalism that America once embodied, the version that was not based on abusing and violating the average workers, forcing them to work under criminal conditions, is on the verge of becoming a myth. We are witnessing everything this nation once stood for disappear, along with the unions American workers created.
These workers may not be unionized, but they are gaining supporters rapidly. They plan to march across the state of California into the warehouse district of Los Angeles to raise awareness and fearlessly stand up for their rights. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook (hashtag #WalMarch) as we follow the workers' march to bring an end to abusive practices by employers. #WalMarch is on!