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Landmark PLA Combats Misclassification, Discrimination at Port of Oakland

Seminal deal brings a sea of labor rights

Seminal deal brings a sea of labor rights

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Construction truck drivers at the Port of Oakland will be protected from employee misclassification thanks to a landmark deal which labor advocates hope will set a precedent for the industry at large.  Last Thursday, the Oakland Board of Port Commissioners voted unanimously to pass an enhanced Project Labor Agreement (PLA) to ensure employee status and prevailing wages.  The agreement will also lay out new workplace safety, health, and environmental standards which trucking brokers must agree to in order to do business at the port.  

Eric Tate, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 848, spoke highly of the new PLA:

“We applaud the Port of Oakland for taking misclassification seriously enough to reach an agreement with the Teamsters that will end the pervasive misclassification of construction truck drivers at this port complex. This is further evidence that all the wage and hour litigation, coupled with NLRB, EDD, and other rulings, has caused the ports and industry to realize that misclassification is a fraud and a growing liability.”

Other measures to protect truckers from misclassification include the creation of a grievance panel consisting of representatives from the port, building trades, and employers where independent contractor status can be challenged.  The enhanced PLA also offers arbitration.  

Under the PLA, drivers will be eligible to have their attorney’s fees paid by their employer if the arbitrator rules in their favor.  The agreement will also allow for faster dispute resolution, include hiring goals for minorities and women, and increase apprenticeship opportunities.  The PLA will apply to all work at both the Oakland seaport and airport.  

Rome Aloise, President of Teamsters Joint Council 7, said he hopes the PLA will be replicated to cover other projects in the future:

“We are going to work aggressively to have this language adopted in other project labor agreements. The Port of Oakland was a national leader when it passed the original Maritime and Aviation Project Labor Agreement in 2000. Again, today, these enhancements to that agreement position the Port of Oakland as a strong leader and model for labor relations,”


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