Friday, October 30, 2015

Truck Drivers Strike at LA-LB Ports

By Mark Edward Nero

On Oct. 26, port truck drivers, who say they are misclassified as independent contractors instead of employees, began an “unfair labor practice” strike at the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex.

It’s the eighth time in the three years such a strike has taken place. This time, the striking drivers include those who work for two companies: trucking company Pacific 9 Transportation – who have been on an indefinite strike since July – and global transport company XPO Logistics, which has multiple offices in Southern California.

Dozens of drivers are believed to be participating in the strike, although a spokeswoman with Justice For Drivers, the group leading the effort, said they did not have an exact number.

Officials at the two ports have said that the impact of the strike on operations has been minimal and that although some terminals have been picketed, the disruptions have done little to slow down traffic coming in and out of the terminal gates.

Drivers have said they went on strike to protest unfair labor practices, including job misclassification, retaliation, harassment and intimidation for having filed claims for wage theft with the California Labor Commissioner’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.

The indefinite picket is organized in part by the Teamsters union, which for years has pushed to have the drivers recognized as employees with their respective companies so that they may then be eligible to join the union.

The Harbor Trucking Association, which represents a collective of LA area transport companies, has said the Teamsters and other outside interest groups don’t represent the majority of its drivers, and that independent contractor status offers drivers flexibility and the opportunity to own their own small businesses.