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Teamsters Back CA Bill to Grant Amnesty to Drayage Co.’s Who Reclassify Drivers by 2017

Assemblyman Hernandez

Assemblyman Hernandez

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In California, Assemblymember Roger Hernandez has introduced a bill which will provide drayage companies a limited period of amnesty to reclassify their drivers as employees. This would be contingent upon a settlement with the state on behalf of the drivers in question. 

The bill, AB 621, is currently before the state Senate appropriations committee following its passage in the assembly on a 47-29 vote.  The bill was amended to include a mandatory settlement judgement instead of the originaly desired consent decree.  

In a statement, Hernandez said that if AB 621 passes it would “transform and modernize” the drayage industry:

“For far too long, port drivers have been misclassified as ‘independent contractors’ when they are in fact employees.  AB 621 is an important first step in the industry’s efforts to modernize and improve efficiency at our ports, which represent a vital component of our state and federal economy.”

The amnesty window ends in 2017.  For coming forward, drayage companies will be relieved of liability for statutory or civil penalties. The bill is supported by the Teamsters union, which has been helping misclassified drayage drivers organize in order to receive employee status.  

Randy Cammack, President of Teamsters Joint Council 42, praised Hernandez for his work on AB 621:

“Over the past year several leading port trucking companies have seen the writing on the wall and converted to an employee driver model in order to fully comply with California and federal employment and labor laws because port driver misclassification has become a huge financial liability.  Industry executives should welcome this bill and see it as an opportunity to comply with the law and avoid protracted legal battles that they will ultimately lose.  The Teamsters are proud to stand with Assemblymember Hernández as he works to speed up long overdue justice for port drivers.”

A 2014 report from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) found that 49,000 of the nation’s 75,000 port truck drivers are misclassified as independent contractors.  This misclassification leads to between $787 and $989 million in lost wages and approximately $563 million in underpayment of state and federal employment taxes each year, according to NELP.


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