It has been a great year for the Warehouse Worker Resource Center. Here are some highlights of our efforts in 2019- through education, organizing and action.
Building New Community Spaces
WWRC began the year launching the Justice Hub, a space we share with seven other community partners- Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice, Pomona Economic Opportunity Center, Inland Empire United, Unite HERE Local 11, Inland Empowerment, Worksafe and Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Collective. The hub acts as a space for organizing, education and shared strategy in the Inland Region.
Advocating for Radical Reform of Workplace Safety and Health
In March, WWRC Deputy Director Veronica Alvarado spoke at “How We Heal: Confronting Health Inequity with Structural Competency” 2019 Conference at UC Riverside about how the workplace health system is designed to benefit corporations and harm workers. Our efforts to ally with the medical field will benefit workers in the warehouse sector and across the region. You can view Vero’s talk here.
In April, WWRC and our partners Southern California Council on Occupational Safety and Health organized the first Worker Memorial Day action in the Inland Empire. In partnership with the Inland Empire Labor Council and other partners, we spoke and demonstrated on behalf of the people who died at work in 2018, especially in the Inland Empire region.
Support For Migrants In Our Community
In May, the US Border Patrol began dropping off migrant asylum applicants at the San Bernardino Greyhound station- with no money, belongings or mode of communication to get to families or other support. As members of the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice, WWRC staff and volunteers rushed to support the migrants and welcome them to our community, and to get them to some safe place. Throughout the year, WWRC stands up for immigrants in the workplace and in the community.
That same month, we and SB Airport Communities organized Shut Down ICE action on Prime Day at the San Bernardino Amazon Sortation Center, demanding that Amazon cut ties with ICE and other predatory government agencies.
That month were also honored by the National Employment Law Project in Washington DC, at their fiftieth anniversary dinner, for our efforts over the past decade to stand up for insecure workers in the goods movement sector.
Building New Legal Capacity for the Inland Empire
In August, WWRC expanded its capacity when we established our Legal Department. Attorney Tim Shadix, formerly of Worksafe, and Worker Advocate Ashley Chacon joined WWRC’s team to expand our legal education and enforcement work.
La Escuelita Viva- Turning Education Into Action
Throughout the year, WWRC held its monthly Escuelita program, educating workplace leaders on the interconnected impacts of goods movement and capital on our lives, health and families, and what we can do about it. In June, we partnered with CCAEJ and Sierra Club to focus on Ergonomic and Chemicals.
Organizing for Community Benefits in San Bernardino
In September, WWRC and the SB Airport Community Coalition participated with the Global Climate Strike with a rally at the Amazon warehouse in San Bernardino, establishing the community’s demand for a Community Benefits Agreement at the proposed Eastgate Air Freight Terminal at the San Bernardino Airport, a massive logistics project on public property in San Bernardino. This action included youth from across the region and focused on the climate and environmental justice impacts of goods movement on our communities. WWRC organizer Daisy Lopez led a contingent of warehouse workers and community members to stand in solidarity with the climate and environmental justice movements.
Also in September, former San Bernardino Amazon warehouse worker Eric Guillen spoke at the first meeting of the California Governor’s Future of Work Commission, where he spoke about the way algorithmic management and high pace of work affect workers and our communities.
We also launched as the anchor of the San Bernardino Metro area for Census IE, the effort to ensure that we have a complete count for the region in the 2020 census. The WWRC, led by Census Fellow Lysandra Diaz, is leading a group of organizations walking and phoning through hard to count neighborhoods in the area through April 2020.
Establishing Good Working Standards in Los Angeles County
In October, Toll Global officially took over the Port of LA Container Freight Terminal from California Cartage, ensuring that the facility will provide good jobs to the warehouse workers who have been organizing there for the past five years. This massive victory will change conditions for hundreds of workers at one of the largest and most important warehouses in Los Angeles County, going from minimum wage and no benefits to a living wage, benefits and a voice at work.
Passing Groundbreaking Accountability Legislation
Also in October, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 485, authored by Assemblymember Jose Medina of Riverside, a bill sponsored by WWRC and the California Federation of Labor. The bill required increased disclosure of job quality and numbers from warehouse employers that receive local subsidies. This policy is a step toward a transparent and accountable goods movement sector in California.
Building Solidarity and Strategy- Nationally and Locally
In November, WWRC and partners across the country unveiled Athena, the national network to challenge Amazon. As part of this, there was a report release from the LA Economic Roundtable and LA County Federation of Labor detailing Amazon’s impacts on Southern California. We also supported CLUE-LA and the LA Fed to organize an action at Amazon’s Century City store to demand Amazon cut ties with ICE and other immigration enforcement agencies.
In December, WWRC and the San Bernardino Airport Communities stood up to Amazon and Eastgate with a community picket and rally. Over 400 people attended and called on Amazon to be accountable to the residents of the city!
Later that month, WWRC and the SB Airport Community coalition met with Senator Bernie Sanders to discuss how he can help support communities impacted by Amazon and the goods movement industry.
We truly appreciate your support and look forward to a great year together!