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Vernon, a city with just over one hundred residents, has few of the characteristics commonly believed to be essential to the existence of a city. The city is nearly completely industrial, lacking in significant residential development, and the presence of a single school. Most if not all of Vernon’s residents are city employees in fact living in homes provided by the city. Just over ninety-two and a half percent of these residents are of Latino or Hispanic heritage, ranking the city ninth among Los Angeles neighborhoods and cities.
Vernon is south of downtown Los Angeles, separated from downtown by the city of Boyle Heights. The dividing line between Vernon and Boyle Heights follows approximately along the train tracks that pass through the Clement Junction, which is at the northwest corner of Vernon lead to and from the Redondo Junction east towards Commerce, which is Vernon’s neighbor to the north, northeast, and east. To the south are the cities and neighborhoods of Maywood, Bell, and Huntington Park. Vernon’s western border runs along Alameda Street, which runs between Vernon and South Los Angeles. The whole city is criss-crossed by a network of railroad tracks and junctions winding around and providing transportation services to the grid of warehouses and manufacturing plants that make up the city. Around one hundred thousand workers regularly come to Vernon to work in these warehouses and plants. Vernon promotes itself as being especially friendly to business, and a few from a satellite image of the city appears to support this, revealing the signature large, rectangular rooflines surrounded by the significantly smaller rectangles of the tops of freight trucks poised to be loaded or unloaded. The employers that operate in Vernon do not fit into a clear stereotype in terms of size, age, or purpose. On the one hand, the world’s largest oil producers, refiners, and distributors has a corporate office and distribution center in Vernon, near the northwest corner of the city, a short distance from the Los Angeles River. Also in Vernon are regional distribution centers for both of the two largest and well-known express courier companies in the world. Vernon is also home to a number of processing, packing, and shipping plants for fairly well-known food companies. Regular visitors to the local baseball stadium will recognize one of the Vernon meat producers whose brand name has traditionally been associated with the local team. Large producers of meats, fruit, and baked goods will also be found headquartered in Vernon. Similarly, there are several globally-recognized clothing brand names with Vernon factories and warehouses as well as lesser-known producers of more pedestrian items such as boxes, fabrics, machined metal parts for various types of engines and systems, and paper products.
And on the other hand, there are a very large number of smaller-scale warehouses, import and export centers, and even manufacturers scattered throughout the city. Makers of printed t-shirts, small-scale producers of specialty items such as plastic odds & ends and small-market meat products have found a home in Vernon. The gray monotony of the exteriors of the buildings as seen from above, or as seen by someone driving along Fruitland Avenue, Leonis Boulevard, or Santa Fe Avenue, is thrown into sharp contrast when compared to the sights, sounds and smells produced by the businesses that operate in Vernon. Employees in Vernon may find themselves underpaid for the work they do in the warehouses or manufacturing plants. For instance, the company may have their workers clock in early several minutes before their shift and begin working, but may not begin paying them until the actual start time of the shift. They attempt to do this by “rounding” the pay period to the nearest fifteen minutes and in the end wind up not paying their employees for several minutes of their work. This results in a huge savings for the company when this practice is multiplied over a large staff, but it deprives employees of earned pay. Over time this can be a significant amount of money. If you feel that you have not been paid for all the time you have worked, call our office for a free consultation.