We live in a time when at the click of a mouse goods from around the globe can arrive conveniently at our doorstep. Mega-retailers like Walmart and Amazon have created a seamless and efficient system to get our goods to us quickly.
Last year, during the busiest day of the Christmas rush, customers around the world ordered more than 300 items from Amazon per second.
What's not seen are the people who actually make this possible. Kept out of the public eye our temp workers, employed without benefits and securities, they play an integral role in keeping costs down and profits high. Many of these workers stay silent for fear of retribution often having their livelihoods put in jeopardy if they speak out.
Over 70% of our consumer goods come into the US from overseas unloaded at mega-ports like the Los Angeles, Long Beach maritime terminal. Cargo ships carrying up to 12,000 containers stock here every day and the goods they carry are unloaded and brought to warehouses to be unpacked and sorted.
For the West Coast an area an hour east of Los Angeles known as the Inland Empire, which was once filled with horse ranches and citrus groves, is now Warehouse Central.
Schneider Logistics, which exclusively serves Walmart, have over two million square feet of warehouse space in the Inland Empire and it actually spans three different cities. The Inland Empire has the largest concentration of warehouses in the world and they serve other retailers too like GE, Nestle, Home Depot, and Kmart to name a few.
As retailers increase their online sales, it's at places like these that the essential tasks of sorting, labeling and loading the stuff we buy happens. Online sales are growing at a dizzying pace as consumers increasingly look to the web to make purchases.
In the big retails behind-the-scenes workers are actually being temps and the conditions in these warehouses can be deplorable because the American consumers expect goods to be shipped very quickly. So what is it like working in a warehouse? What are the challenges temp workers face?