Monday, August 26, 2013

Breaking: LA port driver strike, kicking off strike season!

Green Fleet Systems strike line in Carson, Calif. 
Just now L.A. port truck drivers walked off their jobs at Green Fleet Systems (GFS) at the start of the evening shift. They are striking for 24 hours to protest harassment and intimidation by company management.

The striking port drivers have set up picket lines at the Green Fleet warehouse in Carson, Calif. Teams of strikers in cars are chasing strikebreaker trucks and picketing them when they deliver at customer warehouses and distribution centers, including Skechers’ state-of-the-art national distribution center in Moreno Valley, Calif. The drivers are continuing their fight against Green Fleet Systems, which spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on union busters. Drivers filed charges with Region 21 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB investigated Green Fleet and issued an Unfair Labor Practice complaint alleging the company broke federal labor law with retaliatory anti-union actions.

The company has spent thousands of dollars on union-busters and publicists to intimidate employees. It allows anti-union workers to put posters in their cars that depict the pro-union workers as donkeys.  Jose Rodriguez, a hardworking driver for GFS,  said,
I feel that is very disrespectful, we should be treated with more respect at work.
GFS has forced the port drivers for the first time to join the ranks of workers fed up with being abused by powerful corporations and staging short, sudden strikesCorporategreed is turning America into a Third World country of exploited workers who don’t earn enough to afford food, clothing and rent. The Los Angeles port truck drivers’ strike precedes a national fast-food workers strike planned for Thursday, and more job actions are expected in the coming weeks.

Fermin Mendez, a GFS port driver, expressed the frustration felt by many workers across the U.S. that their employers don’t respect their desire to form a union
This is dangerous work that we do. GFS management says that we are professional drivers, but they do not treat us professionally. We deserve to have respect on the job as well as fair benefits and a pension. This is a fight against exploitation, in every job I have worked I have been exploited and treated without respect, and that needs to stop.
Though the striking Green Fleet drivers are employees, the vast majority of port truck drivers across the United States are misclassified as “independent contractors” and don’t have the same right as employees to form a union. Companies also misclassify employees to avoid paying taxes, to shift business expenses to drivers and to avoid paying drivers for all hours worked.Misclassified drivers in California have brought the fight to the boss by filing wage and hour claims estimated to amount to millions in stolen wages.