California’s Inland Empire, covering 400 million square feet in the southern region of the state, is home to 40 percent of all US imports and one of the largest concentrations of warehouses in the country. In a special investigation for The Nation, reporter Gabriel Thompson writes of his firsthand experience temping for an electronics distributor in the Inland Empire—packaging iPads for the holiday season. He spoke with Morning Edition’s David Greene about the fast-paced, often dangerous, work environments in these facilities and the economic conditions driving poor Americans to this line of work despite “a clear understanding that they’re going to be discarded after the holiday.”
—Steven Hsieh