Port Truck Drivers Return to Work

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July 14, 2014 in Labor & Economy

Striking drivers and supporters at Friday rally. (Photo: Slobodan Dimitrov)

Striking drivers and supporters at Friday rally. (Photo: Slobodan Dimitrov)

One hundred twenty port truck drivers, responding to a mediation initiative from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, agreed to end their strike Friday evening and are returning to work today. The Unfair Labor Practice walkout, which had no fixed end date, began June 7 against three harbor trucking companies (Green Fleet Systems, Total Transportation Services Inc. and Pacific 9 Transportation) that port haulers allege commit wage theft, engage in workplace retaliation for union organizing and misclassify their drivers as “independent contractors” rather than company employees.

The five-day strike was unprecedented for its length – and for the bad publicity it splashed on the three companies, which have also been on the losing end of a string of labor court and National Labor Relations Board rulings regarding their treatment of truck drivers. The strike saw the brief shutdown of several marine terminals, an impromptu concert for the strikers by protest rocker Tom Morello and a secondary protest in Manhattan Beach aimed at the Skechers shoe company, which contracts with one of the struck hauling firms, Green Fleet.

The drivers agreed to return to their jobs for an unspecified cooling off period, in exchange for the companies’ agreement not to dismiss the workers, who are supported by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. A statement issued by Mayor Garcetti’s office said:

“Following the City’s meetings with both sides, the Teamsters have agreed to pull down their pickets and enter a cooling off period to allow the Harbor Commission time to investigate the serious allegations regarding worker safety, poor working conditions, and unfair labor practices. Business at the Port is back to normal and the City will facilitate a dialog among the parties in the weeks ahead.”

 

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