More than 100 workers walked off the job at a San Bernardino Amazon facility Friday – the company’s largest air freight location on the West Coast.
“I’m just fighting for all the employees that feel like the pay is not enough. Honestly, the pay isn’t enough,” said Amazon employee Shaquille Combs.
Nearly two months after another strike at the same facility at the San Bernardino International Airport, organizers with a group called Inland Empire Amazon Workers said their demands still aren’t being heard.
They’re asking for better working conditions in a warehouse that many say is sweltering hot.
In a statement, an Amazon spokesperson said the San Bernardino air hub is “fully climate controlled” with “both air conditioning and high-velocity fans to increase airflow,” unlike “most air hub sites within the broader cargo industry.”
The ramp crew vans are also air-conditioned, the spokesperson added.
Workers, however, say they’re also pushing for higher pay.
“Right now, they actually just did a wage increase,” said employee Alfonso Rodriguez. “We asked for $5 and they rebutted with a $1.30 raise. They will actually start you at about $17.30 an hour. A year ago, that sounded good but with inflation prices right now, that $1.30 they gave us has actually done nothing.”
The Amazon spokesperson couldn’t confirm the starting wage, but they say for a frontline or transportation employee, the average pay is $19 per hour, with employees earning between $16 and $26 per hour depending on their position and location.
Then, there’s the retaliation. Ricardo Perez said he’s been working to get a promotion.
“I’ve been told by several supervisors that if I continue my activity that all the managers will see and I’ll never be able to get a promotion,” he said.
Workers have filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, and other labor groups have come out in support of the workers, even going so far as to block big rigs from getting in.
“There’s hundreds of thousands of people in this region who know that Amazon is not benefiting our community, is not doing what it needs to do, and at the same time, it’s a company that can afford to do the right thing,” said Sheheryar Kaoosji, executive director of the Warehouse Worker Resource Center.