Joe Gutierrez | Office of Strategic Communication | (909) 537-3007 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Drive along any freeway, or even almost any major street in an industrial area, in the Inland Empire, and you can’t miss the massive – and many – warehouses, and their related traffic. While major sources of jobs, they also are major sources of concern – traffic, air quality, public health, worker health and safety – for their employees and the surrounding community.
To raise awareness of these issues, the faculty and students at Cal State San Bernardino will host a hybrid event about the wide-ranging issues related to warehouses in the Inland Empire, and specifically around CSUSB.
Free and open to the public, “Warehouses in the Inland Empire: Struggle for Our Communities,” will take place at noon Wednesday, April 12, in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences building, room SB 128, and on Zoom at https://csusb.zoom.us/j/388207496.
Many members of the CSUSB community are directly impacted by the presence of warehouses in the inland region, from working in them or having family members who work in them, to having our region’s landscape and the daily commutes changed by them. In recent years, these changes have accelerated as major warehouses have expanded within the region.
The nonprofit news organization, CalMatters, reported that in “1980, the Inland Empire was home to 234 warehouses. There are now more than 4,000, providing significant economic benefits for the region. But this growth also has consequences: more unhealthy air days in predominantly Latino communities.”
CSUSB professors Mike Kohout (geography) and Jeremy Murray (history), who are the event hosts, said the forum will help draw connections between the intellectual life of campus and the interests and concerns of warehouse workers and others impacted by these major businesses in our community.
The event will host some representatives of the Warehouse Worker Resource Center, who, according to their website, are “a nonprofit organization founded in 2011 dedicated to improving working conditions in the warehouse industry in Southern California” through education, advocacy and action.
“My students and I have been learning about the impact of the warehouses on our communities for a long time,” said Kohout. “But the current massive expansion of the industry with its dramatic impacts on our communities is unprecedented. Those of us living and working in our region have to decide how we will co-exist with the warehouses today and in the future. How do we make the industry work for us and not against our desire for good jobs, clean air, and a say about the quality of life in our cities.”
Some of CSUSB’s students and other campus personnel have worked in warehouses, and some are currently working in them.
Murray said of the planned event, “It’s an integral part of the university’s mission to build community connections and to reflect the issues of our host region in the classroom, in community service, and in our intellectual priorities.”
The organizers said they hope to raise awareness about resources and ongoing work to support warehouse workers. They consider this a way to combine issues that are both deeply local and also global in their reach, including supply chains, labor and environmental issues, and civic engagement and leadership.