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On Thursday, Sept. 10, thirty-eight (38) misclassified “independent contractor” port truck drivers – many of whom have been on strike against their employer, Pacific 9 Transportation, six times in the last two years and are now entering the tenth week of their sixth strike – concluded an historic six weeks of testimony in back-to-back individual hearings before the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), during which they provided evidence of more than $6 million in Wage Theft. On Monday, September 14, the striking drivers, who will be joined on the picket line by drivers from recently-unionized drayage companies Shippers Transport Express and Eco Flo Transportation, will escalate their picketing beginning at 6:00 AM PST at the company’s truck yard in Carson, California.
Amador Rojas, 58, said he has filed a wage theft claim for $270,000 covering three years of driving for Pacific 9. In his nine years with the company, Rojas said he has had to cover his own truck lease, repair, insurance and fuel costs while sometimes working 18-hour days. “All the costs, we pay ourselves,” he said in Spanish. “Sometimes we come out with a negative check” after expenses.
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.