Thirty port truck drivers went on strike Monday night at a Carson-based trucking firm, alleging their employer is attempting to thwart their efforts to unionize, organizers said.
Monday’s strike will go for 24 hours and organizers have planned a Tuesday rally with labor leaders and elected officials.
Protesters on Monday began picketing the trucking firm Green Fleet Systems outside its Carson facility, located about eight miles north of the Port of Long Beach.
Organizers also plan to follow Green Fleet trucks to warehouses and distribution centers in the Inland Empire to picket trucks as they deposit goods at their destinations.
Monday’s strike kicks off a week of planned labor actions by low-wage workers in different industries seeking to draw attention to their causes.
Green Fleet Systems has moved goods in and out of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach for more than 20 years, according to the company’s website.
Truck drivers allege that their employer has hired “union busters” who are intimidating drivers seeking to join the Teamsters Local 848.
In March, the Teamsters Port Division group filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, Region 21, which handles complaints in Southern California.
The Teamsters allege that a Green Fleet Systems supervisor asked an employee to sign an anti-union petition and promised better pay and a boost in benefits if workers did not join the union.
A Sept. 16 hearing date on the issue has been postponed to sometime in October, according to an attorney for the Teamsters union.
Truck driver Agustin Cuevas, 60, said he and co-workers are fighting for better treatment from their employer and to protest what he calls intimidation by hired union busters.
Cuevas, who has worked as a driver for 20 years, said workers are demanding basic dignity and respect from the company.
“I’ve gone to work sick before,” he said in Spanish by telephone. “If you’re not a perfect employee, you get written up for any minor infraction.”