Thursday, October 8, 2015

Talking wage theft at the White House

Alex Paz
Port truck driver Alex Paz had a story to tell yesterday at the White House. And it's one no hard-working American should have to experience:
I talked about what it is like to be a misclassified driver, what it is like to go home without a paycheck. What it's like to be charged by a company to rent your truck, for registration, parking, tires, insurance. And what it's like to go home with a negative paycheck and tell your wife, 'I don't have any money to sustain the family.'
Paz, a member of Local 848, took part in a panel on organizing during the White House Summit on Worker Voice. He said he and other participants were encouraged that President Obama and administration members issued their support for unions during the event.

But there is a lot of hard work that goes into increasing union membership. Paz said he got involved with the port campaign in June 2013, and since then has seen a dramatic improvement in conditions at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. That said, wage theft and unfair treatment remains a reality for all too many port truck drivers not only in Southern California where Paz resides, but across the country as well.

Nick Weiner, port campaign director for the Teamsters, said it is time more companies recognize the tide is turning against them:
Alex's opportunity to speak at the White House yesterday is an indication of the incredible progress and transformation we've been able to achieve collective as drivers over the last couple of years and accomplish the impossible. No one believed that trucking companies at the port would acknowledge that their drivers are employees. But today their are 500 Teamster port drives at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.