Business

Five-day trucker strike at Los Angeles and Long Beach ports ends

Eric GarcettiInternational Brotherhood of Teamsters
More than 120 port truck drivers agree to end their five-day strike against three firms
The striking port truckers argue that they are improperly classified as independent contractors

More than a 120 striking truck drivers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach voted to return to work, ending a five-day protest that briefly halted cargo flows at the ports, organizers said.

The drivers decided late Friday to end their job action against three firms they accuse of widespread workplace violations. The decision came after the companies promised to allow all drivers back to work without retaliation and a request from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti for a “cooling-off period," organizers said.

In a statement, the mayor said that the city held meetings with both sides and that the outcome will allow Los Angeles' harbor commission time to investigate the "serious allegations regarding worker safety, poor working conditions and unfair labor practices.”

The drivers will return to regular work shifts on Monday, said Barb Maynard, a spokeswoman for the Teamsters union, which is backing the drivers.

A spokesman for the companies could not immediately be reached for comment

The drivers launched a strike early Monday morning against three harbor-area firms that haul freight from the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.

Four terminals at the nation’s largest port complex briefly closed Tuesday morning after dockworkers honored the picket lines of striking truckers, officials said. The terminals, however, were up and running by 11 a.m. after an arbitrator ruled that the dockworkers must return to work.

Drivers targeted only trucks from Total Transportation Services Inc., Green Fleet Systems and Pacific 9 Transportation. The three firms have about 400 trucks registered to serve the two ports, about 4% of the total registered to do so, according to Long Beach port spokesman Lee Peterson.

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

The trucking companies have blamed the protests on "outside interests" that want to unionize the drivers.

It was the fourth such protest in the last year.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Eric GarcettiInternational Brotherhood of Teamsters
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