Port truck drivers strike for second day

Port truck drivers strike enters second day

Some truck drivers who haul goods from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach struck for the second day Tuesday in a protest against four companies they accuse of wage theft.

Protest organizers said drivers are picketing the trucking yards of Pacific 9 Transportation, Intermodal Bridge Transport, Pacer Cartage and Harbor Rail Transport.

The companies deploy roughly 3.5% of the trucks registered to serve both ports, according to an L.A. port spokesman.

If trucks from the struck companies enter port terminals, picket lines would go up there as well, according to the Teamsters union, which is supporting the drivers.  

If dockworkers honor those lines, the flow of goods could grind to a halt. However, when dockworkers stopped work during previous trucker strikes, they were quickly ordered back by an arbitrator.

L.A. and Long Beach port officials said Tuesday morning there was no noticeable impact to cargo flow.

Several hundred drivers walked off the job Monday and most terminals refused to accept trucks from the firms, according to organizers — a decision they said impacted the flow of goods for major retailers.  

Drivers also picketed a distribution facility near the U.S.-Mexico border used by Pacer Cartage trucks, organizers said. 

The job action is the latest in a series of strikes against harbor-area trucking firms.  

The drivers contend that they are improperly classified as independent contractors, leaving them with fewer workplace protections and lower pay than if they were company employees.

Despite long hours, drivers say they often net less than the minimum wage after the companies deduct money for gas, truck maintenance and other costs.

A spokesman for Pacific 9 said the company "has met and will continue to meet with the Teamsters and drivers to discuss these issues." A spokesman for Pacer and Harbor Rail said "the vast majority" of the companies' independent contractors "value the significant benefits of operating independently."

Intermodal Bridge Transport could not be reached for comment.

Follow me on Twitter: @khouriandrew

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
69°