One hundred twenty truck drivers who haul freight to and from the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach went on strike Monday against the three companies they work for. The work stoppage, which has no announced end date, was called to protest alleged retaliation by Green Fleet Systems, Total Transportation Services Inc. and Pacific 9 Transportation, as well as the drivers’ long hours and low wages. Perhaps more important, the strikers are motivated by their determination to end the companies’ practice of classifying drivers as “independent contractors” – a status that allows the firms to treat their workers as second-class citizens and to avoid contributing payroll taxes to the state and federal governments.
On Wednesday rock-and-protest icon Tom Morello showed up on Terminal Island to support the strikers. The Rage Against the Machine guitarist and Watchman singer strummed a guitar labeled “Black Spartacus” and fired up drivers at the Evergreen Marine Terminal with such anthems as Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land.”
Morello also urged the strikers and their supporters to “mix protest with joy.”
Throughout the course of the L.A./Long Beach port driver strike, Capital & Main will be running photos from the marine terminals and truck yards where drivers and their supporters have gathered.