Port of Los Angeles, CA (April 6, 2016) – Warehouse workers for California Cartage at the Port of Los Angeles are on strike for the third time in seven months as retaliation increased at the major warehouse moving goods for companies like Amazon and Lowe’s. Over 200 workers employed through staffing agency AMR/SSI were told on Monday that they were no longer going to be employed after April 30. The workers, some of whom have worked through the “temp” agency for over five years, have responded by not only demanding that they be retained, but that the company bring them on as direct employees.
“Many of these workers have been organizing for over a year and should be protected from retaliation, as individuals or as a group. California Cartage must retain these workers and bring them on as direct employees,” said Celene Perez, Co-Director of the Warehouse Worker Resource Center, which filed the charges and has been supporting the workers’ efforts in partnership with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
The workers first raised concerns in late 2014, when they filed a Class Action lawsuit alleging violations of the City of Los Angeles Living Wage. Since then, they have secured a Cal/OSHA complaint around workplace health and safety hazards that resulted in citations in November 2015, and gone on strike twice to protest the company’s persistent violation of U.S. labor laws under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
“We are on strike because the company keeps violating our rights and breaking the law. Cal Cartage is trying to remove us – I’ve been here for 7 years through a temp agency. I don’t mind if they get rid of the agency, but we need to create permanent jobs for the workers in this warehouse,” said Victor Gonzales, a longtime worker at the warehouse who faces termination and was on strike Wednesday.
The warehouse site, which will remain occupied for the foreseeable future by California Cartage after the proposed Southern California Intermodal Gateway rail yard project’s Environmental Impact Report was found to be lacking by a District Court Judge in Contra Costa County, is on City of Los Angeles property and is an import site for imports of goods from Asia for major retailers Lowe’s, Amazon, and Kmart/Sears.
The retaliation we are experiencing has been ongoing. This strike will last one day but our fight will go on, until we have decent jobs, until we win,” said Gonzales.
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