A strike by port truck drivers at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach launched on Monday has not had an impact on the port’s operations, a spokesperson for the ports said.
“There are hundreds of trucking companies that do business at the port complex, and thousands of truckers are moving through the complex on a daily basis,” said Phillip Sanfield, director of media relations for the Port of Los Angeles, in an email. “The action this week is targeted at a relatively small number of trucking companies (about a half dozen or so companies).”
Sanfield said the port is making sure cargo flows in and out of the terminal gates and will continue to do that as long as the picketing truckers are assembled at the gates and on port property.
“Los Angeles Port Police has increased their presence at terminals so we can make sure that pickets remain safe in heavy traffic zones and can express their First Amendment rights to assemble and protest,” Sanfield said.
The strike was spurred by the Teamsters Union Local 848. The union alleges that carrier XPO misclassified port and rail drivers as independent contractors. Picketers are also protesting a plan recently revealed by the cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach to implement a zero-emissions port truck pilot program in upcoming years.
“The last time they did this in 2008 with the Clean Truck Program, the corporations ended up passing on the cost to the workers by requiring them to lease a truck in order to get hired and illegally misclassifying them as ‘independent contractors,’ leaving very little for the workers to take home to their families,” said Eric Tate, Teamsters Local 848 secretary-treasurer.
The union organized strikes on Monday at XPO facilities in Commerce, Rancho Dominguez, San Diego and the twin ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, as well as the Intermodal Rail Container Transfer Facility.
A XPO spokesperson said the company’s customers have not been affected by the strike.
The XPO spokesperson said: “We know firsthand that the majority of owner-operators prefer to work as independent contractors, and we will continue to advocate for their right to do so.”