Truck drivers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach expanded a trucker’s strike today to rail yards that dispatch cargo to and from warehouses and distribution centers, a union announced.
The job action that began early today involves intermodal rail yards serviced by Pacer Cartage and Harbor Rail Transport, said Barb Maynard of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters
“These rail yards dispatch cargo to and from warehouses and distribution centers across America,” Maynard said. “Drivers intend to follow trucks from Pacer and HRT to customer locations, including the rail yards, and picket the trucks while they are working at those locations.”
On Monday, drivers at QTS Inc., LACA Express, and WinWin Logistics went on strike, Maynard said.
At issue is “the misclassification of drivers as independent contractors,” she said.
“(This is) a scam that has led to massive wage theft and denied drivers basic workplace protections such as safety and health regulations, disability insurance, workers compensation, and unemployment insurance,” Maynard said.
On Friday, the union agreed to stop picketing and resume labor negotiations with two trucking firms that had been targeted in job actions a day earlier. The two trucking companies — Total Transportation Systems Inc. and Pacific 9 Transportation — ‘have made clear that they respect drivers’ right to choice with regard to unionization,” according to a joint statement from the companies and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union.
“As requested by Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Teamsters, TTSI and Pac9 have agreed to continue their dialogue in an effort to resolve outstanding issues between them,” according to the statement. “Both sides have expressed a desire to sit down and continue confidential discussions of these issues and challenges facing the drayage industry.”
The agreement to resume negotiations meant that the truckers ended two days of picketing. Port officials said the picketing had minimal impact on cargo operations at the harbor.
The union contends the two trucking companies violated terms of a “cooling-off” period brokered by Garcetti in July by firing at least 35 employees and deducting from paychecks in retaliation. The union believes the drivers are improperly classified as contractors when they should be paid as full-time employees.
Drivers from another drayage firm, Green Fleet Systems, agreed last week to extend the cooling-off period affecting them and their employer, according to the union.