Overdrive Extra

Randy Grider

Port truckers practice art of the strike

| October 19, 2012

They say practice makes perfect. If so, Los Angeles port truckers are quickly becoming proficient in the art of picketing. No, they are not on strike, but have been practicing on an almost weekly basis – just in case.

Los Angeles Teamsters truckers have been holding “practice” pickets to show their employer, the Australian-based Toll Group, they’re serious.

According to In These Times, Teamsters Local 848 claims that Australia-based logistics giant Toll Group has broken its promise to bargain in good faith.

In April, Los Angeles port truckers won a rare union election in what is a nearly union-free industry. Since then, the rocky contract negotiations have been watched closely by port workers on both coasts.

“They’re mastering the art of practice,” said TJ Michels, a spokesperson for the labor federation Change to Win. “Because eventually, practice might have to make perfect.

By the way, this was not a practice blog post.

  • heavyfr8hauler

    The Teamsters union is determined to put the owner-operator trucker completely out of business. It makes organizing and the final goal of unionizing much easier when the drivers don’t own any of the equipment. Their ambitious plan is to unionize all truckers who haul marine containers or any other port cargo. This eventually will include inland rail locations as well as seaports across America. T.J. Michels who claims to be an advocate or spokesperson for trucker rights is merely a hired mouthpiece for the large labor group Change-to-Win who not only is helping to fund the Teamster plan but directing the Teamster port driver campaign. They would love to see driver ownership rights in America come to an end. C2W is the creator and controller of the clean&safeport green coalition that has lead the push to ban older model trucks from operating at ports around the country. They see making this an environmental issue as a clever way to make harbor trucking so expensive that that only a small minority of drivers could still possibly afford to purchase equipment. Having the government outlaw or ban trucks makes the Teamster’s job much easier to rid the ports of the owner-operator trucker and replace them with drivers on company owned equipment. Employee drivers are one step closer to unionizing than dealing with owner-operators and their independent contractor status under federal law. It’s all good for them but a disaster for the small business independent trucker who now has to deal with the new environmental laws or leave the marine hauling industry.

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