Workers at Amazon’s West Coast Air Freight Fulfillment Center in San Bernardino will stage another protest Friday, Oct. 14 over low wages and a work environment they claim is unsafe.
It’s unclear how many employees will participate or if they’re walking off the job at the warehouse, which has at least 1,400 employees. Employees said they will rally at 10 a.m. at the Teamsters Local 1932 office at 433 N. Sierra Way, about 3 miles west of the air freight facility.
This summer, around 100 employees staged a similar protest, demanding a variety of improvements in their workplace, including higher wages, an improved leave policy and safer working conditions. They also are seeking a $5-per-hour pay increase, which would boost the starting hourly wage to $22 from $17.
Workers said they gave Amazon until Monday, Oct. 10 to meet their demands, which the retailer did not do.
“We are demanding a living wage, safe jobs and no retaliation,” an employee said in a Twitter post on Wednesday. “But Amazon has responded to us by threatening us and intimidating us.”
Employees who say they’ve endured extreme summer heat working at the air freight facility won some safety concessions last month from the mega-retailer. But they say the fixes were inconsistent.
A dozen workers at the 658,500-square-foot center (also known as KSBD), took thermometers to work for seven days over the summer to document temperatures inside and outside the facilities they claim were well above Amazon’s temperature readings.
The mercury in San Bernardino topped 100 degrees for 18 days in August, the employee report said. Several KSBD workers also documented heat-related illnesses over the summer.
They also claim to have recorded 96-degree temperatures inside cargo planes and tractor-trailers, and above 110 on the tarmac. Inside the warehouse, they recorded a high of nearly 90 degrees.
In August, an Amazon spokesperson said the highest recorded temperature inside KSBD was 77 degrees.
“People who I work with closely, who I call friends, have suffered from heat illness this summer,” warehouse employee Rex Evans said last month. “When we saw the forecast that it would be even hotter, we had to take action. We had to protect ourselves.”
At least 500 of the roughly 1,400 employees at the air hub work outside on the tarmac of San Bernardino International Airport where KSBD is located. Others laboring inside cramped road trailers and large air-freight containers often work with little or no ventilation, employees said.
In a statement released last month, Amazon said the allegations ignore “robust protocols” the company has in place that meet or exceed industry standards and OSHA guidance.
“Unlike most air hub sites within the broader cargo industry, Amazon air hubs — including KSBD — are fully climate controlled and have both air conditioning and high-velocity fans to increase airflow,” the company said.
Amazon made some changes as a result of the workers’ complaints. They include increased cool-down breaks, more access to water, ice and electrolyte packets, increased fans inside the facility and more rotations to bring outdoor employees inside.