Truckers continue striking at SoCal ports over wages, conditions

Updated Jul 11, 2014
Photo from the Teamsters (Click to see more photos of the protests below)Photo from the Teamsters (Click to see more photos of the protests below)

An indefinite strike by some truckers at three Los Angeles area drayage companies entered its third day July 9 with little fanfare, and according to a press release issued July 10, picketing will continue throughout the day today.

Justice for Port Truck Drivers kicked off an unfair labor practices protest against Green Fleet Systems, Total Transportation Services and Pacific 9 Transportation July 7. The Teamsters affiliate had backed three previous short-term strikes against the companies in the past year.

The union is battling the trio because it says these truckers are employees, not independent contractors. Its new Justice for Port Drivers Hardship Fund has raised $50,000 to support strikers.

This month, Pac 9 drivers are scheduled for a wage theft hearing before the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, while GFS is set for oral arguments Aug. 25 before the National Labor Relations Board.

Last month, the Los Angeles NLRB vacated Green Fleet’s informal settlement with the union because it said the company violated it by illegally attempting to interfere with unionization efforts.

The day the strike began, the International Alongshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association agreed to resume negotiations at 8 a.m. July 11. Until then, 20,000 West Coast dock workers will work under their previous six-year contract, which expired last week.

This week, the ILWU is attending “an unrelated negotiation taking place in the Pacific Northwest,” according to the joint release.

Meanwhile, Canada’s Port Metro Vancouver is implementing a plan resulting from a strike by union truckers and owner-operators last spring.

On July 9, PMV terminal operators began paying $50 to owner-operators for wait times of 90-120 minutes and additional charges for more extensive delays. Canada’s federal government contributed $3 million for a reservation system to better link the port’s four marine container terminals. Last month, the PMV completed GPS installation on 2,000 trucks, making it the first North American port fleet to be 100 percent equipped with the technology.

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Port trucking companies filed a lawsuit April 25 against federal and provincial leaders. The carriers say they were shut out of back-to-work talks and the governments lacked jurisdiction to institute the plan, which included a 12-percent hike in trucking rates and doubling owner-operators’ fuel surcharge.

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