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Inland Empire Logistics Study

Logistics Industry Study Presented at UCR on Feb. 18

Researchers from UC Riverside and Berkeley analyze the Inland Empire’s warehouse jobs and find that many do not support a family’s basic needs.

(February 12, 2009)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The Inland Empire’s logistics industry, with its reliance on temporary jobs and low wages, has not lived up to predictions that it would be the economic engine that moves working families in the region into the middle class, researchers at the University of California, Riverside and UC Berkeley have found.

Edna Bonacich, UCR professor emeritus of ethnic studies and sociology emeritus, and Juan De Lara, a Ph.D. candidate in geography at Berkeley, will present the findings of their study, “Economic Crisis and the Logistics Industry: Financial Insecurity for Warehouse Workers in the Inland Empire,” on Wednesday, Feb. 18, from 11 a.m. to noon in UCR Commons Room 302.

Bonacich and De Lara will discuss their analysis of the financial hardships of warehouse workers in the logistics industry, one of the largest employers in the Inland Empire. Their report sheds light on the local impacts of the global economic crisis and explores ways to reduce the staggering rates of unemployment, poverty and home foreclosures among these workers and their families, most of whom are Latino.

While white-color logistics jobs provide some workers with economic advancement opportunities, the industry’s reliance on a low-wage, blue-collar labor pool fails to provide career opportunities for a large portion of the logistics workforce, they found.

The nonpartisan, nonprofit California Budget Project estimates that Inland Empire families require an hourly wage of $17.48 to meet basic needs. Only 3 percent of workers in blue-collar warehouse jobs earn a basic family wage; 41 percent of blue-collar warehouse occupations pay less than $10.50 an hour.

At the same time, many warehouses use temporary-employment agencies to fill low-wage logistics jobs, Bonacich and de Lara found. Temporary warehouse workers frequently work side by side with permanent employees, but are often paid less, work fewer hours and suffer the additional burden of job insecurity.

Bonacich and De Lara’s findings suggest that greater economic security within the region depends on better wages and benefits for warehouse workers, whose numbers are expected to grow in the Inland Empire as Southern California’s port system expands.

Edna Bonacich is co-author of “Getting the Goods: Ports, Labor, and the Logistics Revolution” (Cornell University Press, 2008). Juan De Lara is a geographer whose dissertation focuses on economic development in Riverside and San Bernardino.

This presentation is co-sponsored by UCR Labor Studies, Department of Ethnic Studies, Department of Sociology and the Public Policy Initiative, and is funded by the UC Miguel Contreras Labor Studies Development program.

The study was commissioned by Warehouse Workers United.

The University of California, Riverside ( 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.

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