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Jul
2014
7

Port Truckers in CA Strike “Indefinitely” Over Misclassification, Right to Unionize

Port-of-LA-Trucker-Strike

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MSNBC reports that California truck drivers for three major transportation companies went on strike Monday morning to protest labor law violations.  Over 120 drivers are taking action at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, two of the West Coast’s largest supply points which handle roughly 40 percent of the nation’s imports.  

The three companies at the center of the strike (TTSI, Green Fleet Systems, and Pacific 9 Transportation) are responsible for shipping goods for large companies such as Walmart and Target.  This is the fourth strike against the companies but the first deemed “indefinite.” Previous actions lasted 24 to 48 hours.

Alex Paz, who was fired from TTSI in May as retaliation for speaking out against the company, told MSNBC, “We were fed up. It just got to the point where the drivers are done.”

Rampant misclassification in the trucking industry is at the heart of the matter. The unscrupulous corporate behavior denies drivers benefits while leaving them on the hook for astronomical maintenence costs.

“When the company misclassifies you, you’re denied Social Security, you’re denied medical, you’re denied workers comp,” Paz explained to MSNBC.

Paz and his fellow drivers are striking so they can be labeled as employees, ensuring they receive benefits and are allowed to unionize.  

A recent report from the National Employment Law Project (NELP), the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), and Change to Win found that nearly 65 percent of the country’s port truckers are misclassified.  The report, “The Big Rig Overhaul,” concludes that misclassification costs truck drivers a collective $1.4 billion and the federal government $60 million in unpaid taxes each year.  

For more on the battle to end abuse of independent contractors, browse the misclassification tag on We Party Patriots.

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