Inland Empire warehouse workers and their supporters plan a 6-day march beginning today to expose alleged workplace violations in the region’s vast distribution sector.
The 50-mile pilgrimage will take marchers from Ontario to Los Angeles over 6 days and nights. They plan to sleep in churches along the way. About 85,000 people work at Inland warehouses, packing and moving goods for retailers like Wal-Mart.
Some critics single out the big-box retailer because so many of its goods move through Inland warehouses. Also, state labor investigators have tagged several Wal-Mart contractors for wage and workplace violations in the last couple of years.
“They are well aware of the pressure these workers are under to produce and to get their merchandize to their stores as quickly as possible,” says Guadalupe Palma. She’s deputy director of Warehouse Workers United, the activist group organizing the march.
“And it’s really to lift the lid off all the unsafe working conditions that workers have to endure day after day in the warehouses,” says Palma.
At the end of the 6-day march - scheduled to conclude in LA on Tuesday - workers plan to deliver a letter calling on Wal-Mart officials to address their concerns.