Truckers Strike Again at Ports of L.A., Long Beach

A group of truck drivers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach went on strike last Monday, claiming they have been subject to unfair labor practices, including misclassification as independent contracts rather than employees.

About 40 workers at the California Cartage warehouse in Wilmington also joined the strike Wednesday, according to spokesman Sheheryar Kaaosji. And more truck drivers joined a strike at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on Thursday, one day after Teamsters President James P. Hoffa threw the support of the union’s 1.4 million members nationwide behind the effort, as the Journal of Commerce reports.

Barb Maynard of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters said previously that workers who are “misclassified as independent contractors” are “robbed of basic workplace protections like the right to minimum wage, overtime pay, and a safe and healthful workplace.” Many drivers earn less than minimum wage after seeing truck-leasing charges and other expenses deducted from their paychecks, costing a typical worker $60,000 or more a year, according to the Teamsters union, which is seeking to organize them.

Port officials said shipping terminals have remained open during the strike. As port spokesman Phillip Sanfield said Wednesday the strike had caused only minimal impact on port operations, adding that Los Angeles port police were on hand to ensure traffic safety and the continuing movement of cargo through the port.

Support for the truckers also came Wednesday from some members of the Los Angeles City Council.  The City Council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution voicing support for the truckers and calling on the companies doing business at the city-owned Port of Los Angeles to abide by federal and state labor laws

Councilman Joe Buscaino, whose district includes the Port of Los Angeles, co-introduced a resolution expressing support for workers at the port and urging employers there to follow federal and state labor laws.

The resolution also calls for the parties in the dispute to “resolve any labor issues proactively to avoid any work stoppages at the Port of Los Angeles.” The resolution was also authored by Councilman Bob Blumenfield and Council President Herb Wesson, with Councilwoman Nury Martinez seconding.

The truckers also delivered a petition bearing 27,000 signatures from members of the pubic to Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office urging him to weigh in on the drivers’ behalf.

RCL Agencies will continue to monitor the situation and report further updates once available .