Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Port drivers' strike fuels movement to organize low-wage workers

The successful port drivers' strike at the Port of LA and Long Beach added to the growth and momentum of the movement to organize low-wage workers and to raise their wages. Striking port drivers at three companies were joined by Walmart workers, longshoremen and Teamsters on the 48-hour picket lines.

Today, striking truck drivers serving the nation’s largest port complex returned to work after an historic unfair labor practice strike. It marked a dramatic escalation of drivers’ fight for dignity, respect, and a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work.
Dennis Martinez, a port truck driver misclassified as an “independent contractor” by Total Transportation Services Inc., said:
With the support of my family, my faith, and the Teamsters, I spent nearly 48 hours on the picket line. We spoke with our feet, with our picket signs, and with our voices, and we know that we have finally been heard. Our resolve has never been stronger: we will not tolerate any form of retaliation, harassment, or intimidation in our fight to have our rights as employees – and our right to form a union – recognized.
Striking Green Fleet Driver Byron Contreras said,
The reason I went on strike is because two of my co-workers were fired when they decided to take a stand, to fight for their rights. It is illegal to retaliate against workers like this, and we are united in our demand for justice.
Santiago Aguilar, a driver for Pacific 9 Transportation, said,
When the ILWU members refused to cross our picket line at Long Beach Container Terminal, I instantly saw a brighter future for myself, my coworkers and for all port drivers. Together, we will make a stronger port. Together, we will work to be sure that the ports work for everyone, not just the shippers like Walmart, Forever 21, and Skechers Shoes.
Solidarity, brothers and sisters!