Tonight, port truck drivers employed by Green Fleet Systems, which contracts with companies like Skechers and Huffy bikes to haul cargo containers on and off the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, began a 24-hour Unfair Labor Practice strike. The strike started at 5 p.m., the beginning of the night shift, and will continue through Tuesday when the day shift arrives. As a Green Fleet day shift driver, I will be joining the night shift picket line and then will be on strike myself starting at 5 a.m. Tuesday. We are striking to protest harassment and intimidation by Green Fleet management.
I have been a port truck driver for 13 years. I have been driving for Green Fleet Systems (GFS), based in Carson, for the last three years. During my time as a port truck driver, I have seen how the port trucking industry works. Port drivers like me are often kept at low wages with few benefits, while port trucking companies and big box retail stores keep most of the money for themselves. The hard work that is done by me and my coworkers often goes unnoticed. Our lives and working conditions are invisible to most people unless they happen to be driving next to us on the freeway. I am sure they do not think of us when they buy a TV, a toy or the clothing that we haul every day.
As a driver at Green Fleet Systems, I face disrespect on a day-to-day basis. My coworkers and I are constantly insulted and intimidated by GFS management. There have even been times when I have been forced to work sick. When my son was graduating from high school, I requested the day off in advance but they refused, forcing me to miss his big day. To GFS management, work and profits come first, while drivers and our families don’t seem to matter at all.
This is why my coworkers and I have decided to join a movement of workers all around the country and organize to form our union at GFS. Although the company has spent thousands of dollars on union busters and publicists, we are not afraid. We know that the only way to change our working conditions is to take our destiny into our own hands and stand up for our rights. This why we are taking action. With our families, friends and supporters standing with us, we will have our voices heard and say:
“Enough is enough! We demand the right to form our union without unlawful retaliation from GFS management and their union busters!”
As we bring our 24-hour strike to a close, please join us at a rally at the GFS warehouse in Carson. It will be the first of many actions taking place across the U.S. leading up to and right after Labor Day. Workers who have worked at the bottom of the economy in fast food, warehouses, retail and port trucking — come out of the shadows to celebrate the important work that we do and reclaim our day! We will no longer stand by as corporations continue to make record profits while wages for people are lower than ever. Only by taking action will we change the current situation and that is why I am taking a stand to demand the rights that I have earned through my hard work!
Rally for Justice at the Ports!
WHEN: Tuesday, August 27, 3:30 p.m.
WHERE: 20550 S. Alameda St., Carson, CA
PARKING: Parking is available on the street along S. Alameda St. and on El Presidio St. Shuttle vans will be looping these streets to help get you to the rally.
For more info see www.Justice4LADrivers.net or follow up on Facebook at Justice for LA/LB Port Drivers.