Tuesday, November 19, 2013

LA Port Truckers Stage 3-Day Strike

Drayage truck drivers working for three companies near the Los Angeles-Long Beach harbor complex began a three-day strike on Nov. 18, alleging that they have been the victims of unfair treatment by their employers.

Dozens of drivers working for Carson, California-based trucking companies American Logistics International, Green Fleet Systems and Pacific 9 Transportation began picketing at 5 am on Monday to protest what they say are poor working conditions. Among their grievances, they say, are long work hours for low wages, lack of overtime pay and no medical benefits.

The drivers, who are independent contractors that are paid per load, say they’re trying to gain classification as employees and to unionize, so that they can receive more rights under the law.

The drivers also conducted a 24-hour strike on Aug. 26.

In a prepared statement, Green Fleet Systems spokesman Alex Cherin said that very few port drivers have shown interest in joining a union and that his company “will continue to pay its drivers some of the best wages in the drayage industry” and also “provide one of the safest rated work environments in the industry while doing it.”

“The overwhelming majority of our drivers vehemently and passionately have voiced their opposition to the current strike and organization effort,” Cherin said.

Earlier this year, Teamsters Local 848 filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of the truck drivers, accusing Green Fleet of worker intimidation and attempting to prevent workers from unionizing. In September, the NLRB ruled that the company was at fault.

Despite the strike and protests, organized and promoted by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, no disruption to operations at either the Los Angeles or Long Beach port was reported Monday or Tuesday.