Los Angeles Port Drivers and workers across America all have one thing in common: We are working harder than ever but struggling just to get by.
Our economy is stalled out. Households in the middle have seen their income slashed relative to today’s cost of living, and the new jobs being created don’t pay enough for people to make ends meet. That’s why workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and across America, are joining together to demand a fair wage and the right to form a union without retaliation.
Los Angeles’ port drivers are fighting for a wage that will allow them to cover their basic needs and help get our economy moving again. For port drivers working at Green Fleet Systems in Carson, California, their effort to form a union has been met with fierce resistance and illegal retaliation.* Drivers have had enough and are stepping up their fight for justice, and for a shot at the middle class.
Port drivers and their supporters will be rallying at Green Fleet Systems warehouse in Carson, California on Tuesday, August, 27 starting at 3:30 p.m., to send Green Fleet Systems and companies like them a message that good, hardworking people will not stand for abuse or be treated like second class citizens.
Although they are short-haul drivers, port drivers work long hours in dangerous conditions and for little pay. Many are forced to seek the little sleep they can in their trucks at night, away from with the very families they work so hard to provide for.
In the midst of a long day of hard work, port drivers must endure an illegal anti-union campaign waged by Green Fleet Systems, including tactics such as pressure to sign anti-union petitions, promised benefits for abandoning union efforts and forced interrogations about their union sympathies. Port drivers at Green Fleet Systems are continuously retaliated against for fighting for a chance at a brighter future for their families.
Green Fleet Systems port drivers sought out the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to have a voice. Only the protection of a union contract will prevent companies like Green Fleet Services from engaging in unlawful treatment and manipulation of hours that has come to define too many American jobs.
What is the cause of the tragic reality of the American workforce? Green Fleet Systems embodies the very crux of the American job crisis. Company owners and corporations choose to keep their employees at poverty wages. Paying workers much less than the worth of their work is not a requirement to have a profitable and successful business. Instead of paying fair wages for a hard day’s work so they can make ends meet, these corporations maintain an unlivable, low pay scale and keep workers from contributing to the economic recovery.
Repairing the American economy relies on creating stable jobs where hard working people can put food on the table and afford to put some of their wages back into the economy. How can we expect to revitalize the American middle class when the majority of new American jobs are low wage and deny workers the right to representation? The only answer is to fight to work with the dignity of fair treatment and a realistically livable wage.
*The regional office of the NLRB [National Labor Relations Board] found merit to the drivers’ claims that Green Fleet violated Federal labor laws protecting workers’ right to form a union.
(Julia Paskin is a Communications Associate with Change to Win’s Port Drivers Campaign. Her post first appeared on Labor’s Edge and is republished with permission.)