Los Angeles: The Southern California ports truckers’ strike passed its third day on Wednesday with drivers continuing to picket four trucking firms that principally serve the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Some drivers working the Port of San Diego are also involved.
Hundreds of drivers picketed offices of the trucking firms, plus truck yards outside the ports. They also held a rally at a rail yard, Union Pacific’s sprawling Piggyback Yard.
Their objective is to have their working status reclassified from “independent contractors” to “employees” because that would give them better pay, benefits and work protections as well as opening the chance to join a union.
They claim the law is on their side after a recent ruling provisionally upheld another ruling from last year in which the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement found that the drivers are being misclassified.
At Wednesday’s rail yard rally several calls were made for the mayors of LA and Long Beach to back the drivers on the grounds that firms operating in the city-owned ports should abide by labour rulings.
The four trucking firms being picketed – Intermodal Bridge Transport, Pacific 9 Transportation, Pacer Cartage and Harbor Rail Transport – comprise fewer than 500 of the 13,600 trucks registered to haul cargo in and out of the harbour complex, which is why management have been able to dismiss the action as posing little threat to port business.
However, port terminal operators have continued to turn away trucks from the picketed companies so as to avoid provoking picketing at the ports themselves and to prevent the risk of sympathy action by dockworkers.
Los Angeles and Long Beach are adjacent facilities, the busiest two ports in the US, and together they handle 43 percent of all containerised cargo entering the country.