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Truck drivers from 3 companies end strike at L.A., Long Beach ports

Drivers from three companies end their strike at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach

Truck drivers from three companies voted Thursday to end their strike at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, organizers said, after a truce brokered by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.

In a joint statement released by the mayor’s office, the companies and the Teamsters Union, which is backing the drivers, agreed to “continue discussions to resolve outstanding issues.”

The companies -- QTS Inc., LACA Express and WinWin Logistics Inc. -- agreed to “respect drivers' right to choice with regard to unionization," according to the joint statement.

Since Monday, some drivers from the firms had set up picket lines at marine terminals as company trucks entered, then took their lines down when the vehicles left the locations, organizers said.

The drivers from the three companies are the latest to go back to work, in a larger job action at the ports. Drivers from Total Transportation Services Inc. and Pacific 9 Transportation previously did so.

Drivers from two companies remain on strike, organizers said.

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

The strikes, which began last week but spread on Monday, have raised tensions at the nation’s busiest port complex.

A powerful dockworkers union and multinational shipping lines are negotiating a new contract for about 20,000 workers on the West Coast.

Dockworkers have been without a contract since July, and management and the union have traded barbs over the last two weeks, ending months of calm. Accusations of a union-orchestrated slowdown have sparked concerns that a lockout or strike could close ports along the West Coast.

Despite rising tensions, dockworkers have not walked off the job during the trucker strike, and protest organizers said most terminals have turned away trucks from the targeted companies.

Cargo has continued to flow and all terminals have remained open throughout the job actions, port officials said.

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