November 3, 2015
By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Drivers at three trucking companies in the port of Los Angeles-Long Beach ended a five-day strike Nov. 2, as did workers at a nearby Amazon warehouse employed by a port-trucking company.
“It is obvious to us that the retailers and the terminals that are supporting low-road trucking companies that illegally misclassify their employees as ‘independent contractors’ by doing business with them have little regard for workers’ rights,” said Fred Potter, director of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ Port Division. On Oct. 30, 14 drivers filed claims with the California labor department alleging that they’d been cheated out of $3.5 million in wages over the last three years. More than 65% of the 75,000 U.S. port truckers are misclassified as independent contractors, according to a 2014 study by the National Employment Law Project, which estimated that this costs $1.4 billion a year in tax losses and unpaid wages nationally and almost $1 billion in California. The Los Angeles City Council endorsed the strike, urging companies that do business at the port to “comply with federal and state employment and labor laws” and give workers “the same wage and benefits protections afforded to all employees in our city.” Drivers at one firm, Pacific 9 Transportation, remain on strike. Read more