The Teamsters have managed to obtain union contracts for about 500 drivers through “labor peace” agreements with several trucking companies at the ports. But the IBT drivers were the first group of misclassified workers in which a majority had petitioned for union representation from inside the company.
“You have the support of the 1.4 million Teamster members,” Hoffa said. “We will bring justice to port truck drivers and warehouse workers nationwide.” The truck drivers who ferry goods to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach walked off the job Monday
Workers from California Cartage, a warehouse at the Port of L.A., have joined striking truckers who drive for Pacific 9 Transportation and XPO Logistics, creating the potential for disruption at two key links in the cargo supply chain.
Striking port truck drivers and other supply chain workers strike at ITS Marine Terminal, Port of Long Beach in Long Beach CA. Tuesday October 26, 2015.
Trucking companies that employ hundreds of drivers are now insisting the drivers sign arbitration contracts waiving their right to file complaints…
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.
It’s a concept that is hard to wrap your head around. But Jonathan Rosenthal’s idea is just the sort of thing to send it all topsy-turvy.
“I’ve seen too many paychecks for too many drivers where they work 60-70 hrs/week and bring home $100,” said Nick Weiner, campaign director for Justice for Port Drivers/Teamsters Port Division. As the ports are overwhelmed with cargo, truckers bear the brunt, often waiting in line for hours for a load. Since they’re paid by the haul, not by the hour, their take-home pay can by miniscule. “I heard a stat once… that 20 percent of port truckers leave every year because they can’t make a living nationally,” said Arian.
The action comes as West Coast port cargo traffic is still recovering from months of slowdowns stemming from a previous dispute between dockworkers and major shipping companies. That conflict, which disrupted trans-Pacific trade and reverberated through the U.S. economy, was settled in February. The port drivers accuse the trucking companies of wage theft by illegally misclassifying them as independent contractors, deducting truck-leasing charges and other expenses from their paychecks. The truckers are demanding to be reclassified as company employees with the right to union representation.