Comes just days after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, who oversee America’s largest port complex, announce a pact setting sweeping environmental goals for the ports
San Pedro, CA – This morning before the Los Angeles Harbor Commission meeting, port truck drivers and warehouse workers announced their 15th strike in four years and called on Los Angeles and Long Beach to protest exploitation by greedy corporations using predatory subcontracting schemes, including misclassifying employees as independent workers in order to lower wages, deny them benefits such as health insurance, unemployment, and workers compensation. The strike, which begins Monday, will include drivers from several trucking companies, including XPO Logistics, as well as warehouse workers working on port property.
This comes just days after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, who oversee America’s largest port complex, announced a pact setting sweeping environmental goals for the ports, including requiring zero emission trucks by 2035.
The mayors’ announcement of a second “Clean Truck Program” was silent on who would pay for the new technology.
“We support clean air, but there was no mention on how this Clean Air Action Plan would impact the drivers. We are concerned about who will end up paying for it,” said Eric Tate, Secretary-Treasurer, Teamsters Local 848. “The last time they did this in 2008 with the Clean Truck Program, the corporations ended up passing on the cost to the workers by requiring them to lease a truck in order to get hired and illegally misclassifying them as ‘independent contractors,’ leaving very little for the workers to take home to their families. We don’t want that to happen again.”
Since the 2008 Clean Truck Program went into effect, the CA Labor Commissioner has ordered more than $40 million in back pay to port drivers because trucking companies have lured drivers into abusive truck lease schemes and failed to pay them for time worked, resulting in driver strikes disrupting port operations and causing congestion. To date, all of these decisions have been upheld in court, including most recently by a federal court judge upholding an award of almost $1 million to five drivers employed by XPO Logistics. In fact, federal and state government agencies and courts have issued over 300 decisions determining port drivers are in fact employees; nevertheless, the ports have thus far refused to ban, suspend, or penalize trucking companies that are breaking U.S. labor laws. These are among the significant labor challenges facing the U.S. logistics industry.
SOURCE: Justice for Port Truck Drivers