Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Workers Act Against Undesirable Labor Conditions In Logistics Sector

With Jacksonville, Florida vying to be "America's Logistics Center" one might want to take a look at the kind of labor market conditions that prevail in this sector of the economy.

One major component is work in warehouses and distribution centers.  Unfortunately, workers in these facilities face insecure, temporary, and abusive labor conditions at low wages. All this has given rise to a number of recent labor actions. Organized by Warehouse Workers for Justice, workers are currently on strike at a Walmart distribution center in a major national intermodal logistics hub in the Chicago Illinois metro area.

As reported in In These Times:

Although Walmart owns the warehouse, it contracts with Schneider Logistics to manage operations, including the further subcontracting of actually providing workers to temporary employment firms like Roadlink, which employs about 125 people....
This may be the first warehouse strike in the huge warehousing operations that have grown rapidly over the past three decades in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, which according to World Business Chicago is the world's third-largest intermodal transportation hub.
Many workers complain about the unpredictable hours as well as the low pay--$10 an hour with no prospect of a raise—for heavy work in harsh temperatures. Striker Mike Compton told the solidarity rally that managers routinely referred to workers as "bodies" that were deployed in an endless quest for a higher CPH [cartons per hour], deprived of breaks, and exposed to dangers.

If Jacksonville hopes to become a major logistics center that will also contribute to an improvement in the quality of life for community residents, the city should do everything possible to avoid attracting employers who engage in these "human resource" practices.

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