West Coast Port Truck Drivers Strike Against Four Companies

Reuters reported that according to a Teamsters union official  some truck drivers who haul goods from the nation’s busiest port complex in Los Angeles and Long Beach orchestrated a  strike Monday in the latest action as part of a long-running labor dispute at the West Coast’s shipping gateway.

The companies affected by the strike are Pacific 9 Transportation, Intermodal Bridge Transport, Pacer Cartage and Harbor Rail Transport.

The strikers planned to picket marine terminals, rail yards and other locations where the companies dispatch trucks, Teamsters spokeswoman Barb Maynard said. The truckers accuse the companies of wage theft by illegally misclassifying them as independent contractors, and the drivers demand to be treated instead as employees with the right to union representation.

The outcome of the dispute has implications for hundreds of companies and thousands of truckers in Southern California serving the twin ports, which handle 43 percent of containerized goods entering the United States.

About 500 port truckers have filed wage claims with state labor officials accusing their companies of misclassifying them as freelancers and charging them to lease the trucks they drive. The state has ruled on at least 56 such claims so far, siding in every case with drivers in awarding them back wages and penalties, the Teamsters say.

Thousands more drivers have yet to file claims, and port trucking companies in California could be liable for wage and hour violations of up to nearly $1 billion each year, the labor-backed National Employment Law Project has estimated.

It was not immediately clear how disruptive Monday’s actions might be. A series of such strikes last year caused little disarray at the ports.

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