Port truck drivers will again walk picket lines at an Otay Mesa freight drayage company Tuesday as they and their counterparts in Los Angeles and Long Beach continue their strike against the short haul transport companies for which they work.
Drivers working at the ports in San Diego, Los Angeles and Long Beach began the strike Monday in hopes of getting employers to abide by a recent ruling that they are being misclassified as “independent contractors.” They claim the misclassification allows companies to pay them less than minimum wage, a spokeswoman for the drivers said in a statement.
The failure to pay drivers as employees has created an annual $850 million in liability for the industry stemming from wage and hour violations. A single driver can end up being shortchanged up to $60,000 a year, the statement said.
The drayage firms being targeted by picketers are: Pacer Cartage, with offices in San Diego and Commerce; Pacific 9 Transportation, with offices in Carson and Long Beach; Harbor Rail Transport, with an office in Rancho Dominguez; and Intermodal Bridge Transport, with an office in Long Beach.
Retailers affected by the strike, according to the strikers, include Wal- Mart, Toyota, Costco, Target, General Electric, Forever 21, Louis Vuitton, CVS, Procter and Gamble, Macy’s, Family Dollar and JC Penny.
Picketers in San Diego targeted trucks bringing cargo to Toyota’s Otay Mesa facility just north of the U.S.-Mexico border intended to be transferred to Toyota’s Mexico manufacturing plants. They caused a significant disruption to the company’s cross-border operations, the statement said.
About 200 of the estimated 500 drivers associated with the four companies subject to the strike were on the picket lines Monday. A skeleton crew planned to continue today, but they did not immediately say how long the job action would last.
The labor dispute began in Los Angeles and Long Beach three years ago when drivers sued the drayage companies over the so-called misclassification, and filed various claims and class action suits for wage theft.
Drivers for Shippers Transport Express have since been reclassified as company employees, but other drayage companies have not followed suit.
The drivers announced Monday that “11th hour negotiations” had resulted in a “comprehensive labor peace agreement” between the Teamsters union and the Green Fleet Systems drayage firm. Details of that agreement were not disclosed.
—City News Service
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