Fired Workers At Cal Cartage Warehouse Strike To Protest Firings

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Workers Independent News is heard Monday through Friday at 8:45 and 11:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m.

Warehouse Workers at California Cartage staged a one-day strike Wednesday, protesting company retaliation for an earlier strike. More than 200 workers were told Monday they would be fired by the temporary staffing agency AMR/SSI. Cal Cartage uses that agency to staff its warehouse at the Port of Los Angeles.

Steven Hatch, a warehouse worker and member of the Warehouse Worker Resource Center, says warehouse workers have many issues they want improved.

“Low wages, working through a staffing agency for an extended number of years without ever being hired by the company. The staffing agency winds up taking probably 40 percent of your wages right off the top. Working conditions that are unsafe and a certain amount of retaliation going on towards the workers by management.”

Hatch says Cal Cartage is trying to intimidate workers at its warehouse from using their legal labor rights. That includes trying to instill fear into undocumented workers to keep them from uniting to improve their working conditions.

“The company had its supervisors call a meeting and tell the workers that weren’t a part of the Warehouse Workers Resource Center that we didn’t have the right to organize and that didn’t have the right to wear our organizing t-shirts and vests, and that we were going to get fired if we went on strike.”

The 200 Cal Cartage workers fired by the temp agency are demanding they be re-hired as direct employees. Federal labor charges have been filed. The Teamsters are supporting the warehouse workers.

Upper Big Branch Mine Tycoon Don Blankenship Gets a Year in Prison

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship was sentenced Wednesday to a year in prison, $250,000 in fines and one year of supervised release for conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards in the Upper Big Branch mining disaster that killed 29 miners.

Blankenship drew the maximum sentence for his conviction from West Virginia Judge Irene C. Berger, the daughter of a coal miner.

Blankenship's sentence is less than two weeks in prison for each miner killed in the explosion.