This week, temperatures have reached over 110 degrees in Inland Southern California. Thousands of workers are toiling in steel shipping containers across Southern California delivering goods to all of us from companies like Amazon, Walmart and Target. These workers, like millions of other workers in California, have no protections from the heat under the law. Employers do not have to have a plan to deal with indoor heat, even as these workers make millions of dollars for massive multinational corporations that employ them.
It is only appropriate that this Wednesday, the California State Senate is voting on Senate Bill 1167, a bill that will amend the Occupational Health and Safety Standards Board for its adoption a heat illness and injury prevention standard for all indoor employees at risk of heat illness. The WWRC strives to make sure that the struggles of individual workers are magnified to benefit thousands, through policy and industry change. Thanks to Senator Connie Leyva of Chino for introducing this effort to support basic rights for warehouse and other indoor workers.
Earlier this year, California Cartage worker Sergio Hidalgo testified before the California State Senate labor committee about the heat in their warehouse at the Port of Los Angeles. He reminded the committee that most employers do not provide any mitigations to workers when it is hot, and when he and his co-workers spoke up about heat last summer, the California Cartage warehouse manager, Hermann Rosenthal, threatened them and attempted to provoke a fight. Only with a clear directive, like SB 1167, will workers have language to hold up, and demand their rights from their employers.
The WWRC’s board, staff and worker leaders call on the California State Senate to do the right thing today, and pass SB 1167.