Workers at an air freight hub want a $5-per-hour raise and better temperature controls in the heat
The walkout came as an escalation of a labour struggle that has been unfolding all summer in the Southern California city. En juillet, certains 800 workers at the facility signed a letter to management asking for a $5-per-hour pay raise to keep up with increases in cost of living and new measures to keep workers safe on the job.
Amazon management, pourtant, was not receptive. Selon reporting de Le Washington Post, the corporation offered a $1.50 per hour pay raise for weekday night shifts and a $2 per hour raise for weekend night shifts in sitdowns at the beginning of the month, while also suggesting that workers carpool and take public transportation to work to cut costs.
Amazon has said that the hourly wage for workers at the hub is $17 par heure, which is not a living wage in San Bernardino County.
Workers, in response, have organised. Some have formed a group called Inland Empire Amazon Workers United, which posted on Twitter on Tuesday that 160 workers walked off the job the night before. Their tweet got a boost from Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a frequent critic of Amazon, qui c'est noté that the corporation is worth trillions of dollars while their workers are “forced to live on food stamps to make ends meet.”
Dans une déclaration à Initié, an Amazon spokesperson disputed that number — claiming that only 74 du 1,500 workers at the hub participated in the walkout.
In additon to the concern about wages, workers have also voiced concerns about their safety on the job. Work in extreme heat is a particular threat in San Bernardino, a majority Hispanic city located west of Los Angeles, though an Amazon spokesperson has claimed that the facility there has indoor air conditioning.
Workers have also said that they want Amazon to cease retaliating against labour organisers.
“While there are many established ways of ensuring we hear the opinions of our employees inside our business, we also respect their right to make their opinions known externally,” the Amazon spokesperson told Initié.
The organising in San Bernardino represents another highly visible push for labour power at one of the world’s largest corporations. In March of this year, a warehouse in Staten Island voted to join the Amazon Labor syndicat become the first independent Amazon union in the US.
La victoire, which drew praise from the White House and across the political left, was a landmark moment after Amazon had successfully defeated an earlier unionization push in Bessemer, Alabama over the last several years.
The leader of the Amazon Labor Union, Chris Smalls, has spent the subsequent months appearing in cities around the country attempting to organise more workers. San Bernardino organiser Sara Fee told the Poster that “unionizing is not off the table for us”.