The 48-hour strike by harbor truck drivers ended at dawn today. The haulers have returned to work after drawing an unprecedented amount of public attention to their cause – and without facing dismissals or other forms of retaliation from the three companies they targeted. Those firms — Pacific 9 Transportation, Total Transportation Services, Inc. and Green Fleet Systems – stood accused by the drivers of misclassifying them as “independent contractors,” even as a growing body of labor court rulings shows that the truckers are company employees. As such, they should be entitled to overtime wages, workers compensation, disability and an array of other benefits.
By being placed in the limbo of contractor status, however, the drivers are responsible for all their trucks’ upkeep, fuel and insurance. As a result, like the vast majority of American truckers, port drivers in Los Angeles and Long Beach must subsist on poverty wages.
Some of the drivers joined the work stoppage,