OCEAN PORT CONGESTION UPDATE
Truck drivers are picketing in Southern California over the misclassification of drivers and also they would like to unionize in Los Angeles and Long Beach. The picketing began Tuesday of this week and spread across several marine terminals and nearby warehouses. There were no serious congestion issues reported due to the protestors not being allowed to interfere with the flow of cargo.
The strategy of the picketers is to congregate outside of a number of terminals and when a driver for one of the targeted motor carriers approaches they would discuss their cause with them. On Monday the targeted carrier was XPO Logistics and on Tuesday picketers were focused on Intermodal Bridge Transport and California Cartage.
Drivers have been fighting for four years to bring attention to the fact that drivers are misclassified as independent contractors because they own or lease trucks and operate as a stand-alone company. Drivers argue that the companies they work with exude enough control over them to constitute an employer-employee relationship.
If the drivers could become employees of these companies, they feel they would earn better wages and have access to medical and retirement benefits. The other goal is to unionize drivers and independent contractors in any industry cannot form a union by law.
The pickets are expected to last all week and a spokesperson from the Teamsters has stated that the pickets will build on the success they have had in the past. The efforts this week are also intended to bring attention to the costly new vehicles drivers will have to invest in if the port achieves the goal for zero-emission trucks. The mayors of Los Angeles and Long Beach announced earlier this week that they are looking to update the Clear Air Action Plan.