Monday, November 17, 2014

Strike season continues today with LA port strike spreading to three more companies

The LA port truck driver strike that began last week spread to three more drayage companies today. The job action continues the latest season of low-wage worker strikes expected to come to a head with the largest Black Friday protest by Walmart workers on Nov. 28.

Teamsters and Walmart workers came to the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach on Thursday to support the drivers striking against Total Transportation Services (TTSI) and Pacific 9 Transportation (Pac 9).

As the striking port truck drivers picketed on the West Coast, low-wage federal contract workers walked off the job in Washington, D.C. Nearby the port, Walmart strikers staged their first-ever sit-down strike and then joined the striking truck drivers at the port.

Today, Andrew Khouri at the Los Angeles Times reported,
Port truck driver strike at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach grew Monday, as protest organizers targeted three more companies that they accuse of wage theft. 
Drivers from QTS Inc., LACA Express and WinWin Logistics Inc. joined an ongoing strike Monday morning, said Barb Maynard, a spokeswoman for the Teamsters Union, which is backing the drivers... 
As in prior job actions against other firms, drivers say they are improperly classified as independent contractors, leaving them with fewer workplace protections and lower pay than if they were company employees.
The Justice for Port Drivers campaign explained the reason for the strikes in a statement:
Drivers are striking to end misclassification as “independent contractors,” 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.  
“We are sick of this misclassification scam,” declared striking port driver Ricardo Ceja, a misclassified “independent contractor” from LACA Express. “We are coming out of the shadows to demand our rights as company employees to provide a better future for our families.” 
On Friday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti facilitated talks among the drivers at TTSI and Pac 9, and the drivers agreed to take down their picket lines. Garcetti had already negotiated a cooling-off period with Green Fleet Systems, and so drivers did not strike that company on Thursday.
Today, this WinWin Logistics truck was turned back at the LBCT terminal.
Here's more good news: The striking port drivers are not only getting support from Garcetti, but from LBCT, Maersk, APL and Yusen terminals. A delegation of community, faith and Teamster leaders will hold a news conference this afternoon to show their support.