Thanks to Warehouse Workers United for the photo of the warehouse workers strike.
California safety officials last week fined two companies that run the dangerous Wal-Mart warehouse in Mira Loma, where workers struck over working conditions in September. The warehouse operator and staffing agency were fined a total of $60,000 for putting workers in danger.
The fines vindicate the workers. In September, 50 of them marched 50 miles to Los Angeles to draw attention to their terrible working conditions. They delivered a letter to a Wal-Mart office saying their equipment is dangerous, injuries are common and the 120-degree heat and pollution cause vomiting and bloody noses. They don't even get clean drinking water.
California OSHA charged the warehouse operator, NFI, with a series of violations. The agency said workers were endangered by the lack of clear traffic aisles for forklifts or electric pallet jacks and the absence of protective equipment. Unmarked aisles posed a clear hazard because pallets or stacks of merchandise could block employees from emergency exits. And a broken dock plate could have injured workers moving merchandise on hand carts and manual pallet jacks.
Warestaff, the agency that staffed the warehouse, was also fined for those violations -- as well as for failing to provide training about heat illness and emergency information. Cal/OSHA noted some employees spend most of their time in trailers where the temperature measures 105 degrees.