Amazon Air freight hub workers walked out to protest pay and conditions

Dozens of workers at a key Amazon Air cargo hub in California walked out mid-shift on Monday to protest pay and safety conditions. More than 150 of the 1,500 employees at the San Bernardino facility took part in the stoppage, according to The Washington Post. Amazon has disputed that figure by claiming that roughly 74 people walked off the job.

This was said to be the first coordinated labor action in the company’s air freight division, taking place at the largest Amazon Air hub in California. The action was led by workers who are organizing as a group called Inland Empire Amazon Workers United.

The alliance has urged Amazon to increase the base pay rate from $17 per hour to $22 at the facility, which is known as KSBD. Amazon said that full-time workers have benefits and can earn up to $19.25 per hour.

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Inland Empire Amazon Workers United has also called out working conditions, claiming that temperatures reached 95 degrees at the airport on 24 days in July, as CNBC reports. Managers are said to have opened more rest areas after previous complaints about the heat. “They say there is air conditioning, but you can only feel it in some sections,” Daniel Rivera, a leader of the stoppage, told the Post. An Amazon spokesperson claimed the highest recorded temperature in the hub is 77 degrees.

The workers who walked out don’t currently have plans to file for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board, but they are open to the idea amid a wave of unionization efforts across the company. Amazon has appealed against a union victory in Staten Island, New York. The results of a second election at a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, were too close to call and hundreds of votes have been challenged.