LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The last of the port truck drivers who went on strike this week decided to end their picketing today, five days after walking off their jobs at hauling companies serving the Los Angeles and Long Beach trade ports.
Drivers for Pacific 9 Transportation will end their strike, which they began earlier this week because they believe their employer wrongly categorizes them as independent contractors, even though they essentially work as full-time employees.
The Pac 9 drivers join haulers for three other companies serving the Port of Los Angeles who ended their strike and returned to work earlier today, saying their employers’ businesses were disrupted by their job action.
Byron Contreras, a Pac 9 driver, said he and his colleagues are “proud of our progress in gaining public support for our effort to end wage theft and secure dignity, respect and a union contract.”
“We have millions of dollars in claims for wage theft against the
company and we refuse to give up our fight,” Contreras said. “But we need to
feed our families and while we’ve been on strike, the company has continued to
charge us to use their trucks, to park their trucks in their yard and to insure
their trucks. We will be back with more actions and strikes until we win.”
Fred Potter of the Teamsters Port Division said earlier today that the
Pac 9 drivers continued their picketing into today because they had “made a
conditional offer to return to work” and were “awaiting a response from the
The Pac 9 drivers are returning to work “without conditions,” said
Barb Maynard, who represents the International Brotherhood of Teamsters working
to organize the drivers. Teamsters officials said the workers will keep
building support for their “effort to end wage theft and illegal and unfair
treatment at the company.”
The Pac 9 drivers were the holdouts after three other companies —
Intermodal Bridge Transport, Pacer Cartage and Harbor Rail Transport —
returned to work this morning.
Maynard said the workers were able to get shipping terminals at the
ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to turn away their employers’ trucks over
the course of their strike.
Maynard said there are “no discussions with the companies currently
scheduled” about any changes in working conditions for the drivers.
The drivers went on strike to protest what they believe is their
misclassification as independent contractors. They say they are essentially
full-time employees, and the contractor classification requires that the
drivers pay many of their own work expenses, which eats into the pay.