Worker advocacy groups say nearly 70 percent of port truckers misclassified as contractors

| February 24, 2014
Port of Oakland

Port of Oakland

Nearly 50,000 of the 75,000 port truckers in the U.S. are misclassified as independent contractors, according to a recent report, which says the misclassification costs federal and state governments significant tax losses.

The Feb. 19 report was sponsored by the National Employment Law Project, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy and Change to Win Strategic Organizing Center — all three worker advocacy groups. 


States addressing contractor misclassification problems

New Jersey’s legislature is one of at least five state assemblies considering changes in employee and contractor classification.

The study, dubbed “The Big Rig: Poverty, Pollution, and the Misclassification of Truck Drivers at America’s Ports”, suggested changing of federal labor laws and more effective enforcement by states and the federal government to get a handle on misclassification. 

The researchers calculated the total number of U.S. port truckers through Department of Homeland Security surveys, port truck registries and other data. They consulted Internal Revenue Service literature for definitions of employee and IC.

They also re-analyzed surveys of more than 2,000 port truckers from 2010, of which 82 percent were misclassified as independent contractors, along with citing a Government Accountability Office report from 2009 that looked at six years worth of IRS data. 

“For 84 percent of the workers misclassified as independent contractors in tax year 1984, employers reported the workers’ compensation to IRS and the workers, as required, on the IRS Form 1099-MISC information return,” the government researchers had written.

The same workers had only reported 77 percent of their income on their returns that year. The IRS would not complete the next extended review on misclassification until 2013 at the earliest, the GAO added.

  • LEO C..

    this makes no sense . I am a port driver and a independent contractor, are they referring to company drivers? I pay enough taxes, and local city makes me pay for a business license, ($450.a year Norfolk v.a.)even though I am leased to a company., everyone is in my pocket!

  • jim stewart

    Sadly with deep enough pockets you can purchase enough researches to publish a study that will say anything you want it to. Amazingly these groups all belong to the same giant coalition of big labor “Change-To-Win” . These are the same folk who have screamed port air pollution at the top of their lungs while sending out carefully scripted press releases to every media source possible for the past seven years. OK, so they now they have a new strategy. Seven years ago they claimed every owner-operator trucker hauling any type port cargo around the nation were all driving smoke belching, dirty polluting, junky rigs. That’s right. According to them we are all criminals sliding under the radar. They also said that as owner/operator truckers we can’t maintain our trucks to proper standards so federal and local governments should step in and take away those trucks. They hoped the O/O trucker would be completely exterminated so they could step in to have us replaced by “employee mandated” drivers behind the wheel of company owned trucks. Well that didn’t work out exactly as they’d planned. This ms-classification fiasco is yet another attempt by CTW’s continued big labor backed campaign to get rid of our so-called “independent contractor status”.. By doing so they hope to finish the job seeking help from numerous government agencies to fuel their ongoing war against every owner/operator trucker in America. This coalition of control freaks feel that to unionize the entire trucking work force an individual truck owners rights should be abolished. Yes,,, According to their top leadership we should all be replaced by a company employee labor pool. Freedom of choice scares them to death as well as makes them very angry? Ownership is now cleverly being attacked once again but now this time under the heading of ms-classification so don’t be fooled by another of their ms-guided agendas!

  • jim stewart

    No , this advocacy group is referring specifically to your independent contractor status as an owner-operator trucker. They want this classification abolished in order to pave way for more company employees. They do not want to fight one company after another a step at a time before the National Labor Relations board over whether you’re truly an independent contractor or not. The legal cost involved not counting time alone would be extremely prohibitive even for a large labor backed group such as this so they want to use lawmakers to go after the independent contractor laws. This is clearly for their own benefit not ours. It makes for a much neater package in order to unionize a large employee base.

  • leo c.

    Jim Stewart, you got my vote brother…. you know your stuff, its scary what’s happening to our rights , not only as truckers but Americans ! what do we do?

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