Four years ago, Domingo Blancas fell ill while working on a hot summer day in his warehouse, operated by National Distribution Centers, Inc. (aka NFI) in Chino, CA. He was hospitalized and had to have emergency surgery. Cal/OSHA, which was already investigating the facility after a complaint from WWRC, cited NFI and the temp agency for refusing to have a plan to deal with indoor heat, a common problem in the many non-climate-controlled warehouses of Southern California. This month, after a long legal fight sustained by Cal/OSHA, the WWRC, Worksafe and the Alexander Community Law Center, the California Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board upheld the citation, making a clear statement that warehouse employers must take the risk of indoor heat seriously.
Today, warehouse workers at California Cartage in Wilmington face hot temperatures, indoors and out, through our extended California summer. The WWRC has been supporting California Cartage workers who filed a complaint with Cal/OSHA and have been educating Cal Cartage workers on their right to take breaks when the workplace is hot. Unfortunately, warehouse workers need to fight and risk retaliation just to achieve such basic standards. WWRC will continue to work for safe warehouses and the right of workers to speak up without retaliation.