Truck drivers who haul goods from Southern Californian ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach went on strike Monday protesting against four trucking companies at the ports.
The truckers accuse the firms of wage theft, as they are reported to be illegally misclassified as independent contractors, which resulted in deducting truck-leasing charges and other expenses from their paychecks. As a result, they demand to be reclassified as company employees with the right to union representation, Reuters reports.
The companies involved include Pacific 9 Transportation, Intermodal Bridge Transport, Pacer Cartage, and a Pacer subsidiary, Harbor Rail Transport.
So far, around 500 port truckers have filed wage claims with state labor officials on misclassification grounds, with over 5o cases being resolved in favor of the workers, according to the Teamsters.
Thousands more claims are expected to follow suit, which could result in nearly $1 billion worth of claims each year, Reuters reported citing data from the National Employment Law Project.
“The Teamsters union started ambulatory picketing this morning at the Port of Long Beach. The Teamsters are targeting four non-union trucking companies that transport cargo to and from four of our port’s 22 terminal operations,” said Long Beach Port CEO Jon Slangerup.
“Dockworkers have reported to work and truckers have been able to enter and exit the affected terminals without delay,” he added.
According to Slangerup, it is not expected that the strike will have an adverse impact to port terminals or activities aimed at clearing the congestion backlog and return to normal operations.
“The Port of Long Beach does not employ or contract with the drivers involved in this informational action, but we respect the rights of the drivers to picket. Our Harbor Patrol officers and Long Beach Police are monitoring the situation and they are keeping the roadways accessible to all who want to do business at the port,” he went on to say.
We have been receiving many inquiries about the Teamster-organized truck driver protest activity at the port complex today.
“As of 2pm Monday, LA Port Police have reported approx. 32 demonstrators peacefully picketing and passing out fliers at four LA terminals. The protests today (Monday) are specifically directed at 4 trucking firms out of roughly 800 that serve this complex. Altogether, these companies operate fewer than 500 trucks out of the collective fleet of 13,700+ trucks that call at our terminals. Cargo continues to move through the port unimpeded,” the Port of Los Angeles informed.
World Maritime News Staff; Image: Polb