Warehouse Jobs: Path to the Middle Class?

Feb. 27 seminar to examine whether promises of economic stability match reality

warehouse dock

A seminar on whether warehouse work creates a path to the middle class will be held Feb. 27.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A seminar focusing on the Inland region’s warehouse workers and whether those jobs provide a path to the middle class will be held on Thursday, Feb. 27, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Riverside City Council chambers, 3900 Main St.

The event — “Warehouse Work: Road to the Middle Class or to Economic Insecurity?” — is co-hosted by UC Riverside’s Center for Sustainable Suburban Development (CSSD) and Labor Studies Program, and an ongoing research project at UCR that is funded by the Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California (CCREC).

The program is free and open to the public. Reservations are required as seating is limited, and may be made online.

Inland Southern California is a powerhouse in the nation’s logistics industry, and where logistics employment is 20 times higher than the state average, said Juliann Emmons Allison, associate professor of political science and associate director of the Center for Sustainable Suburban Development.

“Warehouse developers in particular have been attracted to the Inland region because of its proximity to the Long Beach-Los Angeles ports and its abundance of relatively inexpensive land and cheap labor,” she noted. “Warehouse work arguably promises economic stability to the Inland region at a time when employment has been difficult to find. Major retailers like Amazon and Walmart regularly gain public and political support by claiming their supply-chain workers earn middle-class wages. The catch is that improvements in automation technologies are reducing the number of relatively high-paying jobs available. And persistently low wages for blue collar workers suggest that not enough of the global logistics economy trickles down to meet the needs of individuals and families in Inland Southern California.”

Assemblyman Jose Medina (D-61st District) will introduce the program. Allison will serve as moderator of a panel that will include:

  • John Husing, vice president of Economics & Politics Inc., a consulting and research firm focusing on Riverside and San Bernardino counties
  • Juan de Lara, assistant professor of American studies and ethnicity at USC and author of authored “Warehouse Work: Path to the Middle Class or Road to Economic Insecurity?”
  • B.J. Patterson, CEO and founder of Pacific Mountain Logistics, which provides third-party distribution, freight brokerage and consulting services to the region’s smaller companies
  • Sheheryar Kaoosji, executive director of the Warehouse Workers Resource Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving working conditions in the region’s warehouse industry

The CCREC is a Multi-Campus Research Program of the University of California, based in Santa Cruz. Its mission is to foster a more equitable California by addressing the interconnected crises in the economy, education, employment, environment, health, housing, and nutrition. It links university researchers, community-based organizations, and policymakers in collaborative projects to achieve creative solutions to the problems in our communities, and prepares a new generation of engaged scholars by coordinating and focusing University of California systemwide efforts to support collaborative research that makes a difference in our communities.

Allison is principal investigator of the CCREC research project at UCR that is examining issues of wage theft and health care access among warehouse workers in Southern California.

“Warehouse Work” is part of the Randall Lewis Seminar Series, an ongoing CSSD program funded by Randall Lewis of Upland-based Lewis Operating Cos. That addresses a wide range of regional sustainability topics such as air and water quality, infrastructure planning, the fiscal health of cities, affordable housing, public policy decision-making, designing healthier communities, transit issues and social issues.

The Center for Sustainable Suburban Development, established at UCR in 2003, provides research and analysis with a policy focus on the wide range of issues confronted by suburbs, which have become the dominant form of urban growth around the world.

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-7847
E-mail: bettye.miller@ucr.edu
Twitter: bettyemiller

Additional Contacts

Juliann Emmons Allison
Tel: (951) 827-4582
E-mail: juliann.allison@ucr.edu

Event information
Tel: (951) 827-7830
E-mail: shayna.conaway@ucr.edu

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