Port drivers ended their picketing Friday against a pair of trucking companies serving Los Angeles and Long Beach ports and rail yards, after the two firms agreed to engage in dialogue with the drivers to resolve ongoing labor disagreements.
The drivers, assisted by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, had been picketing since Tuesday, accusing their employers, Pacer Cartage and Harbor Rail Transport, of misclassifying them as independent contractors, when they should be paid as full employees.
The picket lines were dispersed and drivers returned to work this morning after Pacer Cartage and Harbor Rail Transport officials promised to “continue discussions to resolve outstanding issues between them.”
The talks will be confidential and the company “respects its drivers’ right to demonstrate and there will be no retaliation,” statements from the two companies said.
Port driver Fidel Gonzalez, who works for Harbor Rail Transport, celebrated the agreement to begin talks, and said their strikes against the drayage industry and his employer showed “that when drivers come together, nothing can stop us.”
“We are asserting our rights as employees and we won’t stop until we get them,” he said.
Humberto Canales, a driver for Pacer Cartage, said their picketing showed his employer and others “that we aren’t going to take it anymore,” and said the “days of driver misclassification are numbered” thanks to recent court rulings that sided with the drivers.
Port drivers in recent days and weeks also ended strikes against six other trucking companies serving the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, after the promise of similar talks were made. These previous detentes were brokered by Mayor Eric Garcetti.