NFI/California Cartage Employees Call on Company’s Customers – Such as Lowes and TJ Maxx – to Work With New Tenant at Prime Port Property
PORT OF LOS ANGELES, CA – In January, after three months of operating without a valid lease, NFI Industries (formerly the California Cartage family of companies), the largest trucking and warehousing company serving America’s leading port complex, announced its intention to vacate prime property owned by the Port of Los Angeles. This decision came three months after the LA City Council unanimously revoked NFI’s lease in the wake of the seventh strike by warehouse workers and port truck drivers at the site. On Mon., Feb. 11, 2019, the Port of Los Angeles issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a new tenant for this critical site, which is strategically located in the Port’s “heavy weight corridor” and offers preferential tax treatment due to its historic designation as a “Foreign Trade Zone.” (Click here for a summary of regulatory action and litigation at NFI/California Cartage.)
“Our employer, NFI/Cal Cartage, has chosen to abandon its operations in Wilmington, its workers, and the community. For years we’ve spoken up about unsafe equipment, racial discrimination, retaliation, and intimidation at NFI/Cal Cartage. Instead of cleaning up its act, the company is leaving the Port. We’re looking forward to a new company being selected to operate on this property, one that will abide by the law and treat us with dignity and respect,” said Jeremy Hoke, an NFI/California Cartage warehouse worker.
“My coworkers and I work hard and depend on our jobs. We move merchandise off of shipping containers and through warehouses before it ends up in stores. This is back breaking work and we do it to support our families and to contribute to our community. At the hands of NFI, we’ve faced widespread wage theft and ongoing abuses that have fallen deaf on NFI/Cal Cartage’s ears. Now we have the opportunity to work for a good employer. We transport goods for NFI/Cal Cartage customers like TJ Maxx, Lowes, Puma, Rio Tinto, and more. We want to keep working on this property and for these customers, but we need a new company to be chosen that is going to respect us,” said Gustavo Villa, port truck driver, NFI/California Cartage Express (CCX).
Leading Logistics Company at Ports of LA/Long Beach with Long Track Record of Breaking Labor and Safety Laws Resulting in 7 Disruptive Labor Strikes Chooses to Abandon Workers Rather Than Reach Agreement to End Labor Disruptions
PORT OF LOS ANGELES, CA – After three months of operation without a valid lease, NFI Industries, the largest trucking and warehousing company serving America’s leading port complex, has announced it’s intention to vacate property owned by the Port of Los Angeles. This decision comes three months after the LA City Council unanimously revoked NFI’s lease in the wake of the seventh strike at the site, calling upon the Harbor Commission to ensure the lease included provisions to prevent future labor disruptions. It is unknown at this time if NFI will attempt to negotiate a lease for it’s two trucking subsidiaries, California Cartage Express (CCX) and K&R Transportation, to remain on the property. Both entities are the subject of massive litigation and regulatory action because of NFI’s illegal business model that relies on misclassifying truck drivers as “independent contractors”. NFI’s decision to leave the property rather than bring the company into compliance with all local, state, and federal laws presents a much-needed opportunity for the City and Port of Los Angeles to seek a tenant that will follow the laws to avoid the labor disruptions that have plagued the Port property.
NFI warehouse workers and truck drivers have endeavored for years to improve their working conditions, filing multiple claims and carrying out seven strikes in the past three years. However, the company has continuously violated labor laws, resulting in multiple unfair labor practice (ULP) charges and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decisions.
In 2016, workers at the NFI/California Cartage Warehouse held an NLRB election in hopes of joining the Teamsters. In the course of that election, the company broke numerous laws largely casting serious doubt on the legitimacy of that election, including unlawfully threatening and intimidating workers and engaging in coercion, surveillance, and retaliation of workers during the election. Workers were unlawfully disciplined and terminated for Union activity. Following an investigation was conducted, a trial was held, and a decision is currently pending. “We have always welcomed the opportunity to have a second election at the warehouse; however, it is clear by their behavior that the company does not want to have a fair, honest, and lawful election,” said Eric Tate, Secretary-Treasurer, Teamsters Local 848. “I am amazed that the Company is willing to turn tail and run away rather than sit down with us and have a conversation about working out our differences.”
The following is a statement from Teamsters Port Division Director, Fred Potter:
“NFI should act responsibly and stop pointing fingers at the Teamsters when its NFI that has continuously and persistently broken the law. If the company is unwilling to follow the law and play by the rules, and in so doing so puts the Port’s proprietary interests at risk, then they are wise to vacate the property to make room for a company that will follow the law.
“The Teamsters have had a demonstrable track record of attempting to work collaboratively with NFI/Cal Cartage executive leadership – first under the ownership of the Curry Family and now under the ownership of NFI Industries – to bring the company’s trucking and warehousing operations into compliance with the law.
“NFI management has rejected every single effort to resolve outstanding issues raised by port truck drivers and warehouse workers employed at the Wilmington property.
“The recidivist behavior of the company has hurt workers, their families, and the communities in which they reside, and perpetuated an unfair and illegal business model at America’s largest port complex. As a result, the Los Angeles City Attorney has filed a lawsuit against three NFI trucking subsidiaries and the workers have been left no recourse but to strike seven times over the past three years.”
National Freight Industries/California Cartage, based in Wilmington, CA, is one of the largest goods movement companies in America, with warehouses and port trucking operations across the U.S. Referred to herein as “NFI/Cal Cartage,” this family of companies was recently acquired by the New Jersey-based National Freight Industries (NFI). Previous to this acquisition, Cal Cartage was owned and managed by Robert Curry, Sr. and his family. NFI/Cal Cartage represents the largest trucking operation at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach by a wide margin.