Port truckers for four companies serving the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles began picketing April 27 demanding they be reclassified as employees and not independent contractors.
The Teamsters-backed picketing, however, is not a full-blown strike or work stoppage, says the Long Beach port’s CEO Jon Slanger.
The Teamsters say they are picketing trucks from the non-union Intermodal Bridge Transport, Pacific 9 Transportation, Pacer Cartage and Harbor Rail Transport as they enter port terminals, regional rail yards and customer warehouses from Mira Loma to the Mexican border.
One company, Green Fleet Systems, was able to reach an agreement with its unionized drivers Monday to deter picketing by its drivers.
Slangerup described the activity Monday as “informational picketing.” No decrease in productivity is anticipated and truckers have been able to enter and exit without delay, he said.
The union demands that independent contractors at the four firms be reclassified as employees. In 2012, drivers filed wage and hour claims with the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement and began suing for wage theft and misclassification.
Over the next two years, they instituted strikes to protest alleged labor law violations. The drivers also began a petition drive for LA’s and LB’s mayors to “to put an end to lawbreaking for for-profit” at LA’s and LB’s ports.
Meanwhile, West Coast ports are recovering from the cargo backlogged accumulated during the final four months of contract negations between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. The dockworkers and port employers reached a tentative agreement on a five-year contract Feb. 20.
The union is in the process of ratifying that agreement, which will conclude with a final vote tally May 22.