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Ten workers fired after taking 5 minute heat break at California warehouse

By Mason White 2:39 PM August 25, 2013
Workers protesting at Olivet International 

By: Moses Gold
Ten workers were fired after they took a five-minute break in order to cool off from the heat, according to a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board.

The ten workers at a Walmart supplier company in Southern California said they were suspended indefinitely on Friday after taking a break when temperatures reached 90 degrees.

Workers said they thought they were suspended from Olivet International warehouse in Mira Loma, located about an hour east of Los Angeles, in retaliation for raising concerns about working conditions in recent months. The suspended workers were joined by a couple of dozen supporters in protesting this morning in front of the warehouse to protest the suspensions.

Ricardo Hernandez, 21, said he had worked at the warehouse full-time for a year until Friday. “We take heat breaks two or three times a day,” Hernandez said. “On Friday, they said they were suspending us for taking the break. I want the management to listen to us and take a walk in our shoes to see what we go through every day. It is very difficult to work at the warehouse under such high temperatures without cool water,” he said.

Hernandez said that when he and his coworkers have asked for water and raised security concerns of speeding or overloaded forklifts, “They ignore us. They take us as a joke.” However, he said he wants to return to work because the pay helps sustain his parents and young niece.

Olivet International’s other customers include Big Lots, Bloomingdales, JCPenney, Kmart, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Marshalls, Nordstrom, Ross, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sam’s Club, Sears, Target and TJ Maxx.