The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Nation & World

July 8, 2014

Truckers strike at Los Angeles, Long Beach ports

LOS ANGELES — Drivers in a long-running labor dispute with three trucking companies at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach began what they said would be an indefinite strike Monday.

The impact on the movement of cargo around the sprawling port complex, the main gateway for hundreds of billions of dollars of trade with Asia, was limited. But the threat of a broader disruption loomed if striking truckers take their pickets from the offices of their employers to the dockside terminals where cranes move containers on and off massive oceangoing ships.

The truckers say the companies have prevented them from unionizing and improperly classified them as contractors — rather than full-time employees — to minimize wages and benefits. They say that their paychecks often register below minimum wage once the cost of renting and maintaining a truck is factored in, and they have filed lawsuits and complaints with state and federal labor agencies to change their status. Companies counter that pay is good and those picketing do not represent the majority of drivers.

On Monday, 120 drivers went on strike against Green Fleet Systems, Total Transportation Services Inc. and Pacific 9 Transportation Inc., according to Barb Maynard, a spokeswoman for a campaign to organize truckers. The three trucking companies have about 400 trucks registered at the Port of Los Angeles — about 10 percent of those that operate on a regular day, port spokesman Phillip Sanfield said.

Both Sanfield and Port of Long Beach spokesman Lee Peterson said cargo was moving normally, though several terminals were closed to honor a holiday that commemorates the killing of several dockworkers during the 1930s, when organizers succeeded in forming what has become a union with huge leverage at the West Coast's 29 ports.

Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union had been working without a contract since July 1, when their six-year deal with the association representing shipping lines and West Coast port terminal operators expired. Late Monday, the Pacific Maritime Association and union issued a joint statement that talks would be suspended until Friday morning — union representatives are traveling to the Pacific Northwest to tend to a separate dispute.

The statement also said that the contract would be reinstated during the break.

Both the union and maritime association have said they do not want a disruption in the flow of goods.

That could be a challenge if truckers picket dockside terminals, as Maynard said would happen if trucks from the three companies make those runs.

During past trucker strikes, dockworkers stopped working in solidarity but quickly returned when an arbitrator ruled the job action was not permissible under their contract. When no contract is in place, the arbitration process is not in effect. Once the contract expires again Friday, if dockworkers walk, their employers couldn't force them back to work.

 

1
Text Only
Nation & World
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium