Manolo Fernandez is 22 years old and has worked in the warehouses for 4 months. Before working in the warehouses, he was a gardener for 4 years. His mom is unemployed and his father retired 1 year ago. He and his older brother maintain the household.
During my time at the warehouses, I’ve noticed that there isn’t any clean water that’s provided by our bosses. Unless you bring your own water, your options are either to dehydrate or to drink the dirty water that smells like chlorine.
Also, we aren’t provided with enough carts to load boxes and workers are fighting over carts because more carts mean more production and more production means less harassment from management.
In the last four months, I’ve had the hardest time with harassment from management. They give us impossible goals like loading 400 boxes in an hour; they don’t even provide us with enough carts, and they are breathing down our necks the whole time pressuring us to work faster and harder.
One of the most humiliating moments for me at the warehouse was when I was given a goal of 400 boxes and I was given no carts. When I asked my lead for a cart he refused and continued to pressure me to upload more boxes. The heat in the warehouse was intolerable, there wasn’t any clean water, there weren’t any carts, and my lead kept pressuring me to load a ridiculous number of boxes.
I thought to myself: “I am not a machine to be producing 400 boxes in an hour especially without water and without carts! These people don’t care; they treat us like we don’t matter; like we don’t have any rights.”
The leads have even threatened to record less boxes than I’ve actually loaded. When I reported their threats, nothing happened. The supervisors believed the leads instead of me.
I joined Warehouse Workers United because I don’t get any respect at the warehouse and I want that to change. Now I am on strike to stop the retaliation we’ve faced when we tried to stand up for our rights.
Our 50-mile pilgrimage will help hold these warehouses and the contractors accountable. Si Se Puede!