University of California, Riverside

UCR Newsroom



Nov. 13 Conference Focuses on Logistics Industry


Nov. 13 Conference Focuses on Logistics Industry

The UC Riverside event will explore the impacts of warehouses and distribution centers on the Inland Empire’s economy, environment and politics.

(October 30, 2008)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The Inland Empire is the warehousing and distribution center capital of the United States. The impact of this industry on the region’s economy, environment and politics is the subject of a one-day conference at UC Riverside on Thursday, Nov. 13.

“Getting the Goods: The Struggle for Environmental Justice and Good Jobs in the Inland Valley” will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in UCR Commons 355. The conference is free and open to the public. There is a $6 fee for parking.

“This conference will open your eyes about the impacts of the trucking and warehousing of goods on the Riverside/San Bernardino region,” said conference organizer Ellen Reese, chair of the Labor Studies program and associate professor of sociology. “It will also connect the UCR community and students with exciting local campaigns for clean air and good jobs.”

The conference also will help to match interested undergraduate students with unions and environmental justice organizations for internships in winter and spring 2009, Reese said.

The keynote address, “Getting the Goods: Ports, Labor and the Logistics Revolution,” will be presented at 10:30 a.m. by Edna Bonacich and Jake B. Wilson, authors of “Getting the Goods: Ports, Labor, and the Logistics Revolution.” Bonacich is a UCR professor emeritus of ethnic studies, sociology and labor studies. Wilson is an assistant professor of sociology at California State University, Long Beach.

Southern California is the major port of entry for goods made in China, and the Inland Empire is the country’s warehousing and distribution center capital, Bonacich said.

“Almost every major corporation has warehouses here as a step in the process of sorting and shipping the goods to their final destination,” she said. “The transportation and distribution system, known as logistics, has become more and more sophisticated, and logistics costs have rapidly diminished. But at what cost? Workers, in particular, have suffered from lower wages, less job stability, and the decline of unionization.
Temp agencies have grown in the Inland Empire, creating greater flexibility for employers and more hardship for workers. In addition, the implications of the huge warehousing sector on the physical environment, as well as the social/ political environment, are immense.”

More containers flow through Southern California ports, freeways and rail systems every year, Wilson said.

“The workers connected to the movement of goods continue to face tremendous challenges and deteriorating working conditions while residents in the communities surrounding the ports and truck-congested freeways are dealing with unprecedented levels of air pollution and environmentally produced health problems,” he said. “This conference will serve as a starting point in building the necessary strategies and connections among the different communities impacted by the movement of goods in order to create a more just alternative.”

The conference schedule is:

10:30-11 a.m.: Keynote address. “Getting the Goods: Ports, Labor, and the Logistics Revolution.”
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Session 1: The Goods Movement Industry: Current Issues and Possible Futures

- Moderator: Christopher Chase-Dunn, UCR distinguished professor of sociology, labor studies and director of the Institute for Research on World Systems.
- Peter Hall, professor of urban studies and associate Director of the Center for Sustainable Community Development at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.
- Juan De Lara, a Ph.D. candidate in geography at UC Berkeley.
- David West, director of Center for a Changing Workforce in Seattle, Wash.
- Penny J. Newman, executive director of the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice in Riverside.
12:30-2 p.m.: Discussion Groups (free lunch provided)
Group 1 – Sustainable Development: Connecting the Struggles for Environmental Justice and Workers’ Rights
Group 2 – Scholar Activists, Activist-based Scholarship, and Labor Studies
2-2:30 p.m.: Report-backs from discussion groups
Moderator: Devra Weber, UCR associate professor of history and labor studies
2:30-4 p.m.: Session 2: Challenging the Goods Movement Industry for Environmental Justice and Workers’ Rights: Community and Labor Resistance
- Moderator: Dylan Rodriguez, UCR associate professor of ethnic studies and labor studies
- Sylvia Betancourt, organizing director of the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice
- Randy Korgan, organizing director of Teamsters Local 63
- Jeremy Edwards, International Longshore and Warehouse Union campaign coordinator for the Inland Valley
- Esther Portillo, community organizing and internship coordinator for Warehouse Workers United
4-4:30: Closing remarks and audience participation
4:30-5 p.m.: Workshop on undergraduate internships and volunteer opportunities


The conference is organized by UCR’s Labor Studies program and is funded by the UC Miguel Contreras Labor Studies Development program. Co-sponsors include ASUCR, Asian Pacific Student Programs, the Departments of Ethnic Studies and Sociology, CALPIRG, Chicano Student Programs, Latin American Student Association, Mujeres Unidas, UCR student MAPA, Public Policy Initiative, Salsa Club, United Students Against Sweatshops, and UCR Students for Barack Obama.

For more information, please contact Ellen Reese at ellen.reese@ucr.edu or (951) 827-2930.

Additional comments:

“Thanks to UCR for putting together this important conference on ‘Getting the Goods.’ Labor and community organizations need to understand the macro and micro trends in warehousing and logistics so that we can work together to upgrade the living conditions of the Inland Empire work force.” -- Peter Olney, ILWU director of organizing
“The ports of Southern California have become the nation's largest recipients of global trade, but at what cost? Today there are more and more containers flowing through our ports, freeways, and rail systems. The workers connected to the movement of goods (e.g. port truckers and warehouse workers) continue to face tremendous challenges and deteriorating working conditions while residents in the communities surrounding the ports and truck congested freeways are dealing with unprecedented levels of air pollution and environmentally produced health problems. This conference will serve as a starting point in building the necessary strategies and connections among the different communities impacted by the movement of goods in order to create a more just alternative.” – Jake B. Wilson, assistant professor of sociology, California State University, Long Beach and co-author of “Getting the Goods: Ports, Labor, and the Logistics Revolution” (Cornell University Press)

“Globalization, including offshore production of manufactured products, has a domestic face. A high proportion of those goods that are made in China, for example, are brought back to the United States to be shipped to local Wal-Marts, Targets and Home Depots all over the country. Southern California is the major port of entry for these goods, and the Inland Empire is the country's warehousing and distribution center capital. Almost every major corporation has warehouses here as a step in the process of sorting and shipping the goods to their final destination. The transportation and distribution system, known as logistics, has become more and more sophisticated, and logistics costs have rapidly diminished. But at what cost? Workers, in particular, have suffered from lower wages, less job stability, and the decline of unionization. Temp agencies have grown in the Inland Empire, creating greater flexibility for employers and more hardship for workers. In addition, the implications of the huge warehousing sector on the physical environment, as well as the social/ political environment, are immense. In this conference we hope to examine who benefits and who is hurt by these developments, and how those who are hurt can come together to create a more just and equitable logistics system.”
– Edna Bonacich, UCR professor emeritus of ethnic studies and sociology and co-author of “Getting the Goods: Ports, Labor, and the Logistics Revolution” (Cornell University Press)

“The western end of Riverside and San Bernardino counties have the highest levels of particulate pollution in the nation. The USC Children’s Health Study found the Mira Loma area of Riverside County to have the slowest lung growth and weakest lung capacity of all children studied in southern California. And the BNSF railyard in San Bernardino has the highest cancer risk of all railyards in the state The issue of moving goods through our state from the ports to the nation is a life or death situation. Our communities are literally fighting for their lives.” – Penny Newman, executive director, Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Media Relations
900 University Avenue
1156 Hinderaker Hall
Riverside, CA 92521

Tel: (951) 827-6397 (951) UCR-NEWS
Fax: (951) 827-5008

Related Links

Footer