Warehousing Sector Dominated by Part-time, Low-wage Temp Jobs

CONTACT: Elizabeth Brennan at 213-999-2164 or elizabeth.brennan@changetowin.org

Statement of Guadalupe Palma, director, Warehouse Workers United:

ONTARIO, Calif. – As President Barack Obama prepares to tour an Amazon warehouse in Tennessee Tuesday, his visit shines a light on a growing and very important sector of our economy: warehousing and logistics. It also highlights the vast gulf between the good jobs in this sector and the more common part-time, temporary, minimum wage jobs that dominate the industry.

Hundreds of thousands of people work in three major warehousing hubs; Joilet, Illinois; Southern California’s Inland Empire and the port areas in New Jersey. The majority of workers are people of color who are temporary employees, paid minimum wage and receive no benefits. Their jobs represent the growing trend toward low-wage, part-time work in the United States.

According to new research by University of Southern California professor Juan D. De Lara warehouse workers are among the lowest paid in California, particularly women who work in warehouses:

  • The median income for warehouse workers in the logistics industry is $14,500 per year.
  • Temporary warehouse occupations pay an average yearly income of $9,255.
  • Female warehouse workers earn more than $6,000 per year less than male warehouse workers.
  • 28% of all warehouse workers in the logistics industry were employed for less than 27 weeks per year.

Retailers led by the giants, Walmart and Amazon, have a choice. They can help transform the warehousing industry, simultaneously lifting hundreds of thousands of families out of poverty and creating good, decent jobs that will accelerate economic recovery in the United States, or they can stand by and allow the industry to continue to be dominated by low-wage, temp jobs.

We are confident President Obama’s visit will punctuate the need for leadership from global retailers like Walmart and Amazon.

Warehouse Workers United is an organization committed to improving the quality of life and jobs for warehouse workers in Southern California’s Inland Empire.