California’s mandates to replace diesel trucks with zero-emission electric trucks will bring cleaner air and better jobs – if they stay on track. Slow action by electric utilities and fierce opposition by trucking companies are real threats. Displacement of brick-and-mortar retail stores by online retailing and sprawling warehouses has come at the cost of climate change, bad air, low wages.
The Inland Valley Development Agency plans to convert a 678-acre residential and mixed-use area north of San Bernardino International Airport into 9.2 million-square feet of warehouse and industrial space to create “a thriving jobs center.” This gesture at economic development has already been shown to create poverty-level jobs, economic hardship, and precariously housed workers.
The fast food industry is a poverty employer, with a larger share of its workers in poverty than any other industry. All low-wage workers face some level of risk that they will become homeless. This risk is compounded in the fast food industry by the combination of low wages, part-time work and employee churn. These interlocking hazards undercut workers’ ability to pay their rent.