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Port Truckers Strike to End This Afternoon




This afternoon about 100 port drivers will return to their jobs after staging a 36-hour walkout. The unfair labor practices strike, which was supported by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 848, was called to protest what drivers say is employer retaliation for trying to organize a union. The companies targeted in and around Carson were Green Fleet Systems, Pac 9 Transportation and American Logistics International. The drivers claim they’ve been intimidated and harassed for their organizing efforts – employer actions that are against U.S. labor law.

In addition to the retaliation allegations lodged with the National Labor Relations Board, wage-theft charges have been filed with the state against Pac 9 for misclassifying its employee drivers as “independent contractors” – a ploy that has allegedly allowed the company to deduct its business expenses from the drivers’ salaries.

The striking port drivers did not walk the line alone – Teamsters from the Toll Group, a harbor-area transportation company that recently unionized, as well as non-union drivers from ports in Seattle and Savannah, joined them on the picket lines.

Said Teamsters International Vice President Fred Potter:

“For the last 30 years, trucking bosses have gotten away with mistreating and misclassifying port truck drivers. The companies have divided drivers by calling them ‘independent,’ allowing them to cut wages and eliminate benefits. They thought that if they could convince the drivers that they were ‘independent’ they would never come together. But they were wrong. Drivers are coming together coast-to-coast to demand change and fight back against retaliation.”

The walkouts were dismissed on Monday as “desperate acts” by Alex Cherin, the executive director of the Harbor Trucking Association trade group. (Cherin is also senior vice president of the powerful business lobbying firm Englander Knabe & Allen.)

According to a press release issued by Justice for Port Truck Drivers, an umbrella group representing the protesters, the drivers’ walkout escalated at 5 a.m. Tuesday morning, when “ambulatory teams” began picketing trucks belonging to the three companies at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and throughout Southern California warehouses, distribution centers and rail yards. Beginning in the early afternoon the drivers will return to work, accompanied by elected officials, community leaders and members of the clergy.

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