Workers Protest Conditions at nearby Walmart Warehouse

Jurupa Valley workers are calling attention to what they allege are hostile working conditions

JURUPA VALLEY, Calif. - Former and current workers at a Jurupa Valley warehouse that handles Walmart goods were set to picket Thursday morning outside the facility to call attention to what they allege are hostile working conditions.

The demonstration organized by Warehouse Workers United, which is supported by the Service Employees International Union, is scheduled to get under way around 10 a.m. outside an NFI Logistics distribution facility at 11888 Mission Road. Organizers expect at least 50 people will be on hand.

Several dozen workers walked off the job Wednesday in a show of support for colleagues who allegedly have been targeted for reprisals for labor-related complaints, according to WWU.     

"We are standing up for ourselves to create a safe work environment, but we are continuously punished for it," said Javier Rodriguez, a warehouse employee. "We decided to strike again because we are tired of the retaliation and then, like clockwork, instead of addressing our concerns, the warehouse singled us out and punished us again."

NFI has been repeatedly targeted by WWU, which organized a similar labor action in September, when around three-dozen current and former employees, as well as their supporters, picketed.

WWU acknowledges that NFI has begun making improvements for the benefit of employees at its mega-warehouses but criticizes the distributor for alleged retaliation, such as demotions and terminations, against workers who have lodged complaints. NFI has not responded to calls for comment.

The Vineland, N.J.-based logistics firm provides storage and shipping services for Walmart, which some of the non-unionized warehouse workers say does not ensure its logistics contractors are treating them fairly.

A Walmart spokesman told City News Service that the chain expects all of its contractors to comply with state and federal laws concerning workplace safety and laborers' rights.

Workers at the NFI facilities are employed directly by the company or via a temporary staffing agency, Warestaff One.

According to WWU, complaints about workplace safety violations and retaliation are under investigation by the National Labor Relations Board.

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