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Reyes Castellano has been driving cargo in and out of the Long Beach, California, port for 15 years. The 58-year-old has always had to put a big chunk of his paycheck toward covering repair and maintenance costs for his vehicle, but ever since K&R Transportation, the company he works for as an independent contractor, asked drivers to switch out their diesel trucks for ones powered by clean diesel and natural gas, his expenses have gone through the roof.
In a good year, port truck driver Jose Portillo says he can rake in $80,000 a year. But the barrel-chested grandfather says he takes home only $25,000 after paying gas, insurance, taxes and rental fees for the big-rig he drives.
Port truck drivers keep America moving.
From our shores to every store, port drivers are the first or last leg of the journey for what becomes the clothes on our backs, the food on our table, the shoes on our feet, plus the few remaining products we ship overseas. Stuck in the shadows until now, port drivers are fighting back against mistreatment and misclassification. Forced to pay for their bosses’ business costs like fuel, truck lease payments, liability insurance, even parking – you name it the cost is deducted from their paychecks – means some weeks drivers have to literally pay to work, creating modern-day sweatshops, just on wheels. We all pay the cost: tired drivers means unsafe roads; old and poorly maintained trucks means polluted unhealthy air; and industry tax fraud means taxpayers pick up the tab. Support the courageous effort America’s port drivers are making to bring back good jobs, safe roads and healthy air.