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Port truck drivers on strike in California.
More than 120 truck drivers continue their strike at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The drivers are targeting three companies that they say misclassify them as independent contractors when they are effectively employees, denying them minimum wage and overtime protections, Social Security and workers' compensation, and other benefits. Additionally, workers say they've faced retaliation and intimidation over their activism. So far, the strike's impact on the two massive ports remains small, though Tuesday:
In a brief escalation of the day-old strike, dockworkers walked off the job at the Evergreen, APL and Yusen terminals in Los Angeles around 9 a.m., and at the Long Beach Container Terminal an hour later, port officials said.

But an arbitrator quickly ruled that the dockworkers' contract didn't allow them to leave the job in sympathy with the drivers strike. A similar ruling was issued during a 48-hour trucker strike in April.

Los Angeles port spokesman Phillip Sanfield said the port was operating "near normal" despite minor disruptions from the protests.

The three companies targeted by the strike—Total Transportation Services Inc., Green Fleet Systems, and Pacific 9 Transportation—are predictably blaming the strike on "outside interests," because workers just routinely risk their livelihoods to do the bidding of "outsiders" even when they themselves are well treated and well paid. That's totally a thing that happens. And despite that dismissal of the strike's motivations, the industry that relies on port trucking isn't dismissing the possible impacts if the strike grows:
"Everybody uses those ports ... retailing, manufacturing, agriculture," said Jonathan Gold, a supply chain expert for the National Retail Federation, a trade group."They are very important ports and disruptions will be felt far and wide."
While the truck drivers are facing off against powerful companies, organizing efforts have had some victories at the ports.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 07:15 AM PDT.

Also republished by Hellraisers Journal, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Diary (5+ / 0-)
    But an arbitrator quickly ruled that the dockworkers' contract didn't allow them to leave the job in sympathy with the drivers strike.
    Now they know they have to write these details in their contracts , if unions can not support other workers who are within their own proximity , it undermines everyone power to exact change

    Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

    by Patango on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 08:51:28 AM PDT

    •  But what do they give up for that? (0+ / 0-)

      Keeping the vessels on schedule so that we can bring in more crap from Chinese prison labor camps is of paramount importance.

      The ILWU would have to make major concessions in job security, wages or benefits if they want the right to not work in support of other issues.

      "states like VT and ID are not 'real america'" -icemilkcoffee

      by Utahrd on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 09:10:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just worrying about "job security" (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Galtisalie, maregug, cowdab, beemerr

        and not looking at the big picture for your whole community is never wise , that thinking helped make unions suck so bad the last 20 years , and is one of the reasons they're in decline , if the carpenters are not going to honor the electricians , etc etc , then the whole system collapses , which is what we have today  

        Another possible option is fighting the arbitrators thru litigation on the issue

        Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

        by Patango on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 12:32:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The troll returns. Labor has had to deal with (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Patango, maregug, cowdab, KJG52

        people like you who undercut solidarity for a long time. Your tea kettle is ready. It is apparent that you are on the lookout for labor posts at Daily Kos so you can crap on strikers with the message of management. We get it. Now go back to your hole.

        garden variety democratic socialist: accepting life's complexity|striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone's basic needs|being a friend to the weak

        by Galtisalie on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 05:30:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  ILWU contract is expired (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Patango, Galtisalie, cowdab, KJG52

        They are in negotiations operating under an expired contract.  The union agreed to extend the contract on an interim basis thru Friday, which is why the arbitrator had jurisdiction.  The ILWU actually has a lot of leverage to help these truckers and others, since they are not actually under contract again starting Saturday.

        Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

        by benamery21 on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 06:05:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Diary (0+ / 0-)
          But an arbitrator quickly ruled that the dockworkers' contract didn't allow them to leave the job in sympathy with the drivers strike. A similar ruling was issued during a 48-hour trucker strike in April.

          Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

          by Patango on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 05:04:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The contract (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Patango

            is expired.  It has force only because the negotiators say so.

            http://www.ilwu13.com/...

            http://www.shapiro.com/...

            http://www.shapiro.com/...

            "Negotiations between the ILWU and PMA remain ongoing, but on Tuesday both sides issued a joint statement that they would be taking a break between 5 a.m. Tuesday and 5 a.m. Friday, July 11, and that the contract had been extended for ILWU during that time. The only way an arbitrator can step in, like for the case of joining the truckers, is if ILWU is explicitly under contract — that is how the arbitrator was able to call back the workers on Tuesday morning."

            http://www.gazettes.com/...

            Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

            by benamery21 on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 05:44:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  A little more (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Patango

            "The ILWU and PMA negotiators failed to reach a new agreement by the July 1 deadline. The ILWU and PMA said cargo handling would not be interrupted, but the ILWU refused to extend the previous contract while the negotiations continued.

            With no contract in place, the waterfront grievance mechanism, through which either side can request arbitration during a labor dispute, was suspended. Therefore, members of the ILWU have been free to take any job actions they wished or to honor any picket lines in the harbor since July 1.

            However, the ILWU and PMA on Monday announced they had to interrupt the contract negotiations for three days over an unrelated issue. In a strange turn of events, the ILWU on Monday agreed to extend the previous contract for three days."

            http://www.gateway-group.com/...

            Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

            by benamery21 on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 05:54:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks benamery21 (0+ / 0-)

              I will speak "in general" , some people  know how complicated these contracts and negotiations can be , I would be a novice at best

              Companies are experts at making these talks go into limbo if that serves them , if they can undermine the unity of organized workers with moves like this , then it needs to be addressed thru contracts , legislation or litigation

              Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

              by Patango on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 10:22:44 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Screw the contract. That was slipped in (0+ / 0-)

      there like a cyanide capsule to kill  a sympathy strike!  Are they that scared of management?  They can find a  way around or straight through that clause if they really care about their brothers and sisters.

      "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

      by cowdab on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 10:50:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No. This was a decision by ILWU's (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cowdab

        negotiating team to stop the uncoordinated action by their members.  They allowed the expired contract to be enforced to do that.

        I can't tell you why.  I can tell you that the ILWU is famous for feuding with other unions about jurisdiction.  I can also tell you that both of the unions in question have left the AFL-CIO, and that the ILWU cited lack of support by other affiliate unions for their own struggles.

        http://solidarityinmotion.org/...

        Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

        by benamery21 on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 11:36:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Divide and conquer is the theme here. (0+ / 0-)

          I'm sure not well enough versed and up to date to comment on the details.  Just looking at my overview after living with unions  all my life.  I'm very pro-union and want them to do all they can to hang together and stay alive to support the working class.  Are they corrupt?  Yep, to some extent.  Still, it's the best labor has to keep their heads above water.  Maybe clean them up if we can save them first.

          Also, the union  members I've known have never been stopped by a technicality until the past few decades.  Seems like the Air Traffic Controllers union busting was the real beginning.  Bless that demented old  Ronnie Regan! I'm not sure he even knew he was president during the last term.

          "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

          by cowdab on Fri Jul 11, 2014 at 09:17:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  T&R, but damn, this is depressing. The first line (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Galtisalie, KJG52

    you wrote: "More than 120 truck drivers continue their strike", just struck me.

    120? Really? There's more than 120 drivers in the prison parking lot next door. This what the Teamsters has come to? The ports are just about last good union jobs in America and this is what they bring to the fight to protect them?

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

    by Greyhound on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 11:45:12 AM PDT

    •  They are striking only a small part of the port (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Utahrd, KJG52, Pale Jenova, beemerr

      targeting certain operators/terminals.  Drayage drivers are almost totally un-unionized, and the jobs are horrid.  This is an effort to unionize.

      The ILWU actually covers the whole West Coast and every single longshoreman.  That is one of the few unions in America which still has serious teeth.  Panama may put the kibosh on that, however, since the East Coast longshoremen are different union, and relations haven't always been cordial.

      Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

      by benamery21 on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 05:58:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As Debs said with the Pullman strike, the (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jurisrachel, KJG52, Pale Jenova, cowdab

    workers only lose, directly or indirectly, because of government oppression. That's still true today. Since 1947 government oppression has been embodied in Taft-Hartley. The workers can win big if the government butts out. Sympathy strikes and especially general strikes are tools the companies cannot defeat on their own. Solidarity. Good luck and Godspeed to these brave workers who only want to be treated fairly.

    garden variety democratic socialist: accepting life's complexity|striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone's basic needs|being a friend to the weak

    by Galtisalie on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 05:47:46 PM PDT

  •  Deregulation broke the unions and totally messe... (6+ / 0-)

    Deregulation broke the unions and totally messed up trucking. It used to be if you wanted something shipped from NY to LA or wherever you had to use certain carriers and pay certain rates. Sure the costs are lower at the store now. Guess where that $$ comes from? MY POCKET! Freight has become too cheap to haul and I can't pass the cost of high fuel on to my customers. There are WAY too many players in the game. A lot of them have piece of shit equipment and run illegal as hell. It costs good money to maintain a good rig, and I spend it. I spend it because I care about your safety. Think about this: DailyKos would not exist without truckers to deliver computers, and other equipment needed to make this fine site run. Next time you see a trucker, say thank you.

    •  Good point. Taft-Hartley and other changes, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cowdab, Darth Stateworker

      including deregulation, worked together to destroy solidarity among the workers as a whole. It is all aimed at dividing and conquering the workers. If the Longshoremen abide by the safety rules, management calls this a slow down and uses it as justification for a Taft-Hartley injunction. For any sector of labor to get organized will engender one form of retribution or another, even if public safety is imperiled. The separation of consumption from production means that as a consumer I am not supposed to give a crap how that computer gets produced or how it gets brought to my Walmart, as long as its cheap. Then it can become outmoded or break down next year, and I will be expected to buy a new one.

      garden variety democratic socialist: accepting life's complexity|striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone's basic needs|being a friend to the weak

      by Galtisalie on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 05:27:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I hope this time the "independent operators"... (4+ / 0-)

    who in no way are independent, get unionized. They have been ruthlessly suppressed in the past and they are being terribly exploited.

    The "Wal-Martization" of freight transportation started under Jimmy Carter when he gladly abolished the ICC, throwing the trucking and airline industries into a revenue/safety tailspin they have never recovered from. Deregulation destroyed unions in all transportation related industries: warehousing, airlines, trucking, freight handling, local drayage, long haul drayage, truck maintenance,  airframe and power plant maintenance etc... hundreds of thousands of union jobs disappeared under a "Democratic," President.

    When will repeal of Taft-Hartley be a part of the Democratic Party platform again?  

    "Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are..." George Santayana

    by KJG52 on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 09:55:16 PM PDT

  •  Strikes are going nowhere if other unions (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Galtisalie, Darth Stateworker

    do not support them.  That is the whole point of union! Have unions also copped the attitude of every man/woman for him/herself?  Has everyone forgotten that union means:

    Something formed by uniting two or more things; combination.

    A number of persons, states, etc., joined or associated together for some common purpose.

    Just because each group has their own name and their own employer does not mean they should stand ALONE!

    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

    by cowdab on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 10:48:59 AM PDT

    •  That's why Taft-Hartley is so (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darth Stateworker

      bad and should have been declared unconstitutional. It not only shuts down strikes for 80 days but also prohibits many actions that human beings have a right to engage in, including solidarity strikes and secondary boycotts.

      garden variety democratic socialist: accepting life's complexity|striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone's basic needs|being a friend to the weak

      by Galtisalie on Thu Jul 10, 2014 at 03:35:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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