In the heart of America’s Supply Chain, Amazon Warehouse Workers are Demanding Higher Pay, Safe Working Conditions
San Bernardino, Calif. — Amazon warehouse workers are on strike to protest Amazon’s unfair labor practices and retaliation in response to worker demands for better, safer jobs with fair wages and an end to threats and intimidation.
Workers walked off the job mid-shift Friday and will hold a rally and picket line in front of their facility, KSBD, the massive Amazon air hub in San Bernardino.
Inland Empire Amazon Workers United are demanding a $5/hour increase in pay, safe working conditions and an end to retaliation. The strike comes during “Prime Week,” when workers must process extra volume for Amazon’s major sales event.
“Workers at KSBD and across the country are standing up for what we deserve. We have been targeted, threatened, and intimidated by Amazon managers and Amazon consultants and today we are on strike,” said Rex Evans, who works at KSBD. “Amazon has the resources and the power to improve the quality of jobs of the people who make them profitable, but they choose to spend millions on consultants instead of warehouse workers.”
At the end of 2021 workers were told with limited notice that the warehouse would be closed two additional days without pay, meaning workers would have no pay for a total of four days around the holidays. This closure caused financial hardship for many people working at KSBD, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck. That catalyzed a group of workers to start organizing:
- At the beginning of 2022, workers delivered a petition around the surprise closure to management and eventually won a policy change.
- In July at the start of Amazon’s “Prime Week,” workers delivered a petition signed by more than 800 employees at KSBD demanding a wage increase of $5/hour. Dozens of workers confronted management about workers’ difficulty making ends meet on Amazon pay, especially as the cost of living skyrockets.
- Aug. 15, more than 150 workers walked off the job after Amazon ignored their demands.
- In August and September more than 100 workers confronted management about safety measures during an historic heat wave.
- In September, Amazon announced it would raise wages by just $1 at KSBD. In response, workers gave Amazon a deadline of Oct. 10 to respond to their demands.
- On Oct. 11 workers announced they will go on strike to protest Amazon’s unfair labor practices and shameful response to their demands on Oct. 14.
“Amazon is bringing in outside consultants and managers who have tried to undermine what we are doing,” said Alfonso Rodriguez, who works at KSBD. “We are awake and we want to fix what is going on in this building. We want to make Amazon a better and safer place to work.”
The facility, also known as KSBD, is a critical leg in the Amazon logistics network and is one of only a few “air hubs” nationwide.
The facility opened in March 2021 amidst community concern and opposition around job quality and air pollution. A 2018 study found that even before this facility opened, Amazon’s flights into and out of airports in Riverside and San Bernardino counties released an estimated 620,000 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. The two counties also have the worst ozone pollution in the US, largely due to the warehousing industry.
Amazon promised quality jobs, but has failed to deliver. Since the opening, workers have organized in response to low pay, illness-inducing heat, and brutal working conditions. In addition to a new rest area, workers have also won an increase in pay for night shifts.
The warehouse is located at the former Norton Air Force Base. Amazon currently operates 14 flights a day in and out of the 24-hour facility. Amazon has said its goal is to operate 26 flights a day. The number of workers at the warehouse fluctuates, currently about 1,300 but more than 1,800 in peak season, demonstrating the lack of stability in these Amazon jobs.
The Inland Empire Amazon Workers United is supported by the Warehouse Worker Resource Center and many community-based organizations in the Inland Empire including Inland Congregations United for Change, Teamsters Local 1932, Inland Empire Labor Council, Sierra Club San Gorgonio and the People’s Collective for Environmental Justice.
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About the WWRC
The Warehouse Worker Resource Center is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3), organization founded in 2011 dedicated to improving working conditions in the warehouse industry in Southern California. We focus on education, advocacy and action to change poor working conditions in the largest warehousing hub in the country.