In labor’s latest challenge to a low-wage economy and a legal system that excludes huge swathes of the workforce, hundreds of non-union Port of Los Angeles truck drivers plan to stage surprise strikes against three companies Monday.What are their complaints? They are many....
They allege their companies — Green Fleet Systems, American Logistics International, and Pac 9 — illegally punished workers for organizing and exposing wrongdoing.
While drivers striking at GFS and ALI (starting at 5 a.m. PST and 4 p.m. PST respectively) are legally employed by those logistics companies, the workers at the third company, Pac 9, are among the growing ranks of so-called “independent contractors” who legally aren’t employed by anyone at all. They plan to walk (or drive) off the job at 5 p.m. PST Monday.
From last August, In These Times reported
Port truck drivers went on a 24-hour strike early Monday evening to protest alleged union-busting by Green Fleet, one of the port’s biggest trucking companies. The Green Fleet drivers say that the company harassed and intimidated workers who were trying to organize with the Teamsters, and hired a union-busting law firm to block unionization.I wonder if the Los Angeles truckers are experiencing the same abuses listed in JPMasser's diary about the Oakland Port truck drivers?
The Los Angeles truckers are the latest low-wage, non-union workers to walk off the job, engaging not in a traditional strike after an impasse in bargaining but as an offensive measure, walking off over alleged unfair labor practices (ULPs) before becoming formal union members—what Labor Notes’ Jenny Brown calls a “strike first strategy.”
Port Truckers are in an almost impossible position.It's a reasonable assumption.
Unable to bargain collectively because they are considered independent contractors, they have nonetheless been powerless in "contract" negotiations with Port authorites who have basically set the rules of engagement on a "Take it. Or else." basis for years.
They have been without an increase in their pay rate haul a load for ten years.
They have had to upgrade their trucks with new pollution control equipment, taking out large loans to do so with insufficient financial assistance from the Port of Oakland.
They are forced to wait indeterminate amounts of time - sometimes an entire morning or afternoon, waiting for a load, and are uncompensated for their wait time.
While they wait, they cannot turn off their engines and therefore burn fuel they must pay for, contributing to the pollution of West Oakland and the planet.
Until recently, while so waiting, THERE WERE NO BATHROOM FACILITIES THEY COULD USE. LEAVING THEIR CABS WAS, AND MAY STILL BE, AGAINST PORT REGULATIONS, OR RIDICULOUSLY RESTRICTED. (You do the math).
I am really sorry to see Costco caught up in this. Maybe Costco will look for another trucking company.