Archive for August 2010
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Part 1: Inland port spreads across Will County plains
Developers are connecting the nation’s railways to enormous state-of-the art warehouses to make shipping easier for big companies like Walmart. One of the most ambitious of these projects is in southwest suburban Will County. And it’s about to expand.
Part 2: Taxpayers subsidize low wage warehouse jobs
Developers are transforming a windswept plain southwest of Chicago into a gargantuan freight and distribution hub. The project will add to about 300 warehouses already built in Will County. This industry is getting government subsidies in the name of creating new jobs. But there are plenty of people who say the jobs should be better.
The New York Times
By Kari Lydersen
Tory Moore worked at the same packaged-food warehouse in Kankakee for six years, but he was denied a loan and apartment rentals after being told he did not have a real job.
Mr. Moore, 37, was a “perma-temp,” one of thousands of workers in the Chicago area’s massive warehouse complexes who are laid off and rehired every few months by temporary-staffing agencies.
He said he never received paid vacation days, holidays, sick days or affordable insurance. He was fired in December, he said, for rallying other workers to demand better conditions.
“I’m someone who loves to work hard,” he said, “but you want the company to make you feel appreciated.”
When you’re standing in a store aisle, trying to decide between brands of shampoo or kinds of soda, you probably don’t think about how whatever you’re buying arrived there in front of you. But getting it there was a process, and not one just done by machines. People worked to get you that product, and a lot of those people are warehouse workers.
I never considered how a store came to have the items on its shelf. That is, until I talked to Tory Moore, a former warehouse worker and now an organizer for a group called Warehouse Workers for Justice.
Poverty wages and few benefits. Job-related injuries that result in workers getting disciplined or fired. Temporary positions that offer little hope of stability or advancement. Allegations of union busing.
Welcome to the world of workers who staff the hundreds of warehouses clustered near the nation’s largest inland dry port, a sprawling inter-model distribution hub for consumer goods located in Will County, southwest of Chicago. In a new report, Warehouse Workers for Justice (WWJ) analyzes the present state of working conditions at these warehouses, some of the few places in the Chicagoland region offering new blue-collar jobs. But those jobs aren’t providing for workers or their families, the report finds.