Over 100 Residents of California’s Inland Empire Occupy Amazon Developer’s Offices [Vice, 24/01/20]
Amazon is the rumored tenant of a newly approved air cargo facility that working-class residents say would bring more dead end jobs and air pollution to their community.
On December 30, a local commission in the city of San Bernardino, California unanimously approved a $200 million air cargo facility. The future occupant is rumored to be Amazon, the largest private employer in California’s Inland Empire—comprised of the sprawling San Bernardino and Riverside counties—which form the interior of greater Los Angeles.
Supporters of the airport’s expansion say the hub could generate as many as 3,800 jobs and $5 million in revenue for the city.
But locals are concerned about the pollution and more grueling warehouse jobs coming to the area. On Wednesday, roughly 150 residents, labor organizers, and former Amazon warehouse workers—known collectively as San Bernardino Airport Communities protested at the offices of the developer Hillwood, chanting, playing drums, and waving banners reading:
“AMAZON: WE DESERVE GOOD JOBS AND CLEAN AIR.” The Texas-based developer Hillwood is a favorite of Amazon’s. Recent projects include a regional Amazon air hub at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and a delivery center outside Chicago.
“The Inland Empire is America’s shopping cart,” said Mario Vasquez, a communications coordinator for Teamsters Local 1932, and one of the lead organizers of San Bernardino Airport Communities, told Motherboard. “Living in San Bernardino, everyone knows someone who is affected by Amazon—someone who’s working in the warehouses, someone who’s had their lungs damaged…”