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Pico Rivera, California
Pico Rivera was formerly two districts named, unsurprisingly, Pico and Rivera, until they were united in 1958. To the north and northwest of Pico Rivera are Montebello and Bell Gardens; to the east is Whittier; and to the south are Downey and Santa Fe Springs. At the northern tip of Pico Rivera is a facility called the Pico Rivera Sports Arena, which is a popular venue for events that generally appeal to the largely Latino and Hispanic residents of the surrounding area. Live performances from Latino music artists take place on some nights; at other times people can attend a rodeo there, or Mexican wrestling.
Pico Rivera was the home of an auto assembly plant called Los Angeles Assembly that opened a year before the town was founded. The plant closed in 1980 after many well-known models had rolled off of the conveyor belt and become a huge part of America’s car culture. A portion of the employees who built these iconic cars were not out of work for long however. Many were re-hired by a large, well-known aerospace corporation a couple years later to secretly build an important, extremely advanced high-tech bomber on the site of the former auto assembly plant. However, the industry changed again and that work didn’t last long, either, as the aerospace company abandoned the plant and it was torn down in 2001. History did not repeat itself; those jobs – or their equivalent—did not return to Pico Rivera. Instead, the location underwent a transformation that parallels the changes that took place at other similar locations. As in Panorama City, where the auto assembly plant was closed and torn down to be replaced by a large shopping, dining, and entertainment zone, the former factory in Pico Rivera was transformed into something similar, another retail space for large chains and big box stores. In fact, at this point in the city’s history, the second-largest employer after the local school district is one of the big box stores located there. To be sure, these businesses do not provide the same salaries, benefits, and job security that the former occupiers of that land on the corner of Washington and Rosemead Boulevard did. People hired by the new employers face minimum wage pay, limited available hours, few or no benefits, and a greater sense of being replaceable, interchangeable, and disposable, according to the requirements defined by a computer-generated algorithm developed by the employer – or one of the consulting firms retained by the employer – with the goal of achieving maximum staffing efficiency. Prior to that change, many employees felt they could rely on a combination of a living hourly wage, consistent full-time hours, and benefits that have historically been some of the main features of a middle-class life. One result of the new employment structure is an increase in the general level of anxiety experienced by the employees in places like Pico Rivera. Such anxiety, compounded with other sources of pressure, can cause stress on a worker and his or her family, as the economic needs may require him or her—or both parents—to take on more than one job, making it difficult to maintain a household and participate fully in family life. This stress can build and cause sustained high levels of anxiety that can lead to medical issues over time. In some cases, an employee may suffer panic attacks and require time off work and even medication to prevent a complete breakdown. An employer with such an employee may seek a reason to terminate him or her. However, workers in this position have rights. If you feel your rights have been violated and you have been terminated for your medical condition, contact our office for a review of your situation. Our office is located about twenty-one miles from Pico Rivera.