Workers at a major airport hub on the West Coast walk out on Amazon, Warehouse employees at Amazon’s largest air freight facility on the West Coast walked off the job on Monday, seeking more compensation and relief from scorching circumstances that they say pose a health and safety risk to them.
A facility located at San Bernardino International Airport, which is an important component of Amazon’s logistics network and one of the company’s three “air hubs” in the United States, had 160 employees walk off the job, according to organizers with a group called Inland Empire Amazon Workers United. The information was shared in a post on Facebook.
Officials from Amazon sent a statement in which they contested the number and claimed that only 74 of the approximately 1,500 workers at the plant quit their jobs.
According to a statement released by Inland Empire Amazon Workers United, around 900 workers at the San Bernardino airport have signed a petition demanding an increase in basic pay from $17 to $22 per hour. The current rate of base pay is $17 per hour.
Sara Fee, who has worked at the air hub ever since it first opened its doors in March 2021, stated that “Amazon could deliver a higher level for workers, but they don’t.” There is nothing special about a warehouse. Simply said, a business is just a business. The people are what makes everything function, and we are powerful and together to fight for what we deserve.”
According to the event organizers, Amazon is the company that employs the most people in the Inland Empire from the private sector. Amazon facilities employ almost one in every five of the region’s more than 200,000 people who work in warehouses.
In a separate Facebook post, event organizers made the claim that “Amazon promised the Inland Empire excellent jobs.” They did not live up to their promises. Amazon has made us work in conditions that are dangerously hot, our pay is so low that we can hardly afford our apartments, and now we are being punished for speaking out against the company.
A spokesperson for Amazon named Paul Flanigan stated that the firm respects the employees’ right to make their thoughts known outside of the workplace and that there are “several established avenues” for employees to raise problems within the company.
“We are delighted to pay full-time employees at our San Bernardino Air Hub and throughout the region a minimum starting wage of $17 an hour,” Flanigan said. “We are also proud to provide a comprehensive benefits package to all of our full-time employees.” “Depending on their shift, our full-time employees can make up to $19.25 an hour and enjoy industry-leading benefits, including healthcare from Day 1, a 401(k) with a 50% corporate match, and up to 20 weeks of paid parental leave,” the company says.
He added that Amazon provides competitive compensation, extensive benefits, and an “engaging, safe work environment.” Amazon executives are continuously listening to issues and looking for ways they can improve, he said. Amazon also delivers an “engaging, safe work experience.”
Workers at Amazon submitted a petition in July demanding more compensation during the Prime Week sales event, claiming that their current wages do not allow them to maintain a sustainable standard of living in Southern California.
In the petition, employees said that workers making $17 per hour and working 40 hours per week take home about $2,200 per month. However, the average rent in California is $1,700 and the average rent in San Bernardino is $1,650, “meaning that over 75% of our income is going to rent alone,” the petition stated.
According to what the petition stated, “We can hardly afford to survive in today’s economy.”
The workers also voiced their concern about the hazardous working circumstances that were induced by the intense heat.
According to the event organizers, there were 24 days in July in which the temperature at the airport reached at least 95 degrees.
According to the statement, unsafe conditions still exist “in many work areas” despite the fact that employees challenged managers at Amazon and the company responded by creating an additional rest area.
Melissa Ojeda, who has worked at the plant for more than a year, commented that working in the heat makes one feel as though they are suffocating. “You are going to need to take pauses, and it will be quite easy for you to overheat. They make it difficult to take breaks, which is necessary to give your body a chance to cool down.
When the San Bernardino air hub opened for business the year before, its founders say, several members of the community had concerns about the facility’s effects on air pollution and the kind of jobs available at the site.
According to a statement released by Amazon Workers United, a study conducted in 2018 discovered that Amazon’s flights into and out of airports located in Riverside and San Bernardino counties released approximately 620,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The study also discovered that the two counties had the worst ozone pollution in the country, pollution that was largely attributed to the warehousing industry.
According to the event organizers, Amazon conducts 14 flights per day in and out of the facility that is open 24 hours a day on the grounds of the former Norton Air Force Base.
According to what they claimed, “Amazon has stated that its goal is to run 26 flights every day.” “The number of workers at the warehouse fluctuates, currently being about 1,300 but rising to more than 1,800 during peak season,” which demonstrates that Amazon employment is not stable.