Truck Drivers Strike at Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach
A number of truck drivers that haul cargo in and out of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have gone on strike in a dispute over their wages and employee status. The action comes after a weekend vote by the drivers to join the Teamsters Union.
As of this morning, “several hundred” drivers from four companies at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach were striking, according Teamsters spokeswoman Barb Maynard, who charged the trucking companies with “persistent wage theft” from the drivers because they are treated as independent contractors instead of employees.
The drivers reportedly resent that they are not classified as employees by the drayage companies involved—Pacific 9 Transportation, Pacer Cartage, Harbor Rail Transport and Intermodal Bridge Transport. They claim their current status makes them exempt from some workplace protections, disability insurance, workers’ compensation and unemployment benefits.
PORTS STILL RECOVERING FROM THE RECENT WORK SLOWDOWN BY DOCKWORKERS
Picket lines will move to port terminals if trucks from the struck firms enter those facilities, potentially impacting the flow of goods if dockworkers choose to honor the pickets. Spokesmen for both ports say all cargo terminals at both ports remain open today.
The ports—the nation’s two busiest container ports—are still recovering from months of slowdowns after a dispute between shipping companies and dock workers earlier this year.
At that time, tough and protracted contract negotiations with dockworkers nearly closed 29 seaports from San Diego to Seattle.
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach serve as the primary West Coast gateways for hundreds of billions of dollars of trade with Asia. Collectively, they handle approximately 40 percent of imported goods coming into the U.S. annually from the Far East.
UPDATE: Truck drivers at the Port of San Diego have joined the strike
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