160 Amazon workers walk off jobs at California hub
One hundred and sixty Amazon employees walked out of a San Bernardino, Calif., warehouse on Monday, demanding higher wages and better working conditions.
“We’ve been organizing for a $5 pay increase, safe working conditions, and an end to retaliation at the KSBD warehouse,” Inland Empire Amazon Workers United (IEAWU) said Monday, adding that its repeated demands for change at the facility have been ignored.
“Our demands have been ignored by Amazon, and we’ve had enough,” IEAWU added. “Today, 160 of us walked off the job.”
The facility, referred to as KSBD, is one of Amazon’s largest facility’s on the West Coast and one of only three “air hubs” in the U.S. The company uses the facility to transport packages to its warehouses across the country.
The union said that 900 workers at the facility have signed a petition asking the company to raise its hourly base pay rate to $22 an hour, up from the current $17 an hour base pay rate. The union also raised concerns about working in dangerous heat conditions, which it says has resulted in illness.
The union noted that last month, temperatures at the facility reached up to 95 degrees for 24 days.
“Amazon could deliver a higher standard for workers, but they don’t,” hub employee Sara Fee said in a statement. “A warehouse is just a warehouse. A company is just a company. The people are what makes it all work and we are strong and united to fight for what we deserve.”
This is the latest in a series of walkouts and union organizing Amazon has seen in the past year, including the formation of a union at the company’s Staten Island, N.Y., warehouse earlier this year.
In a statement to The Hill, Amazon spokesman Paul Flaningan said that full-time employees at the San Bernardino facility can earn up to $19.25 an hour and receive industry-leading benefits such as health care and 20 weeks paid parental leave.
The company also countered the union statistics on how many workers participated in the walkout, saying that 74 out of the 1,500 employees at the facility participated.
“While we’re always listening and looking at ways to improve, we remain proud of the competitive pay, comprehensive benefits, and engaging, safe work experience we provide our teams in the region,” Flaningan told The Hill.