Warehouse Workers Protest Move Leaving Dozens Jobless

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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 the port of Los Angeles are speaking out against a freight handling company that left dozens of cargo loaders jobless recently. California Cartage, one of the nation’s largest drayage companies, switched temporary staffing agencies. Labor activists said the move was retaliation against workers for raising awareness of unfair and unsafe work conditions.

Dozens of freight handlers at the port of Los Angeles lost their jobs on Friday, April 30, after California Cartage replaced AMRSSI, a temporary staffing agency with another firm. The company asked workers to reapply with Core Employee Management, a new agency, but many fell through the cracks.

Michael Munoz, an organizer with the Warehouse Workers Resource Center, says Cal Cartage didn’t actually fire anyone, it pushed them out.

“Come May 1, anywhere between 70 to 100 people actually didn’t get in for a bunch of different reasons. They told people, ‘Well, you have a problem with your social security number,’ or ‘You have a problem with your background check,’ or ‘Your application is still not processed,’ or ‘We actually have no record of you.’ The agency never called to resolve the issue so a lot of those people actually wound up getting a job somewhere else,” Munoz said.

The labor center has been supporting Cal Cartage workers for two years now. Back in December 2014, it helped workers file a lawsuit against the freight handling company for violating the Los Angeles Living Wage ordinance.

“It’s probably the worst thing ever. We’re trying to outdo each other and stuff but it’s one of the worst places to work ever. Just the really unsure feeling if you’re going to make it home because the way everyone drives is brutal,” said Sergio Hidalgo.

AFL-CIO, SEIU, Other Unions Urge Congress To Approve Debt Restructuring for Puerto Rico

The AFL-CIO and several unions are calling on Congress to oppose H.R. 5278, a bill on Puerto Rico known as PROMESA.

Labor is urging Congress to “act immediately to provide a path for comprehensive debt restructuring and a return to sustainable economic growth for the 3.5 million U.S. citizens living in Puerto Rico.” The AFL-CIO says the people of Puerto Rico are facing an urgent humanitarian crisis brought on by more than a decade of recession, excessive debt and demands for Wall Street austerity. AFSCME, SEIU, the UAW, United Steelworkers, UFCW and IAM are joining the AFL-CIO in urging Congress to pass a restructuring package for Puerto Rico that includes protecting pensions and labor rights.