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  • OTRI.USA
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  • OTVI.USA
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
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  • WAIT.USA
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  • ITVI.USA
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  • OTRI.USA
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  • OTVI.USA
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  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
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  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
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American ShipperIntermodalShippingWarehouse

Drayage truck strike has minimal impact at Los Angeles, Long Beach ports

Some Cal Cartage warehouse workers will join the protest today, according to the Teamsters, but port officials say there hasn’t been a marked effect on operations in terms of congestion.

   The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach say that disruption to container terminal operations by drivers striking drayage companies has been minimal.
   Lee Peterson, Assistant Director of Communications at Port of Long Beach, said a couple of terminals have been picketed, but trucks are still coming in and out of terminals. “We don’t really see a marked effect in terms of congestion or anything at all,” he said on Tuesday.
   “It has been sporadic and limited over the past few days,” said Phillip Sanfield of the Port of Los Angeles. “We didn’t have pickets here today, but we did have a handful on Sunday and Monday.”
   The Teamsters and the group Justice for Port Drivers said they are targeting Pacific 9 Transportation, XPO Logistics, Intermodal Bridge Transport in the protests.
   “We are hearing reports that some of the terminals are deciding to turn away trucks to keep things quiet…some of the terminals are not accepting those trucks, but I can’t verify that,” said Sanfield. “Bottom line from our perspective it has had minimal impact.”
   The Teamsters said that “misclassified ‘independent contractor’ drivers at Chinese-owned port trucking company Intermodal Bridge Transport (IBT) have filed a petition to be recognized first as employees, and to be represented by the Teamsters.” IBT is a subsidiary of COSCO Logistics (America).
   “This is the first time in American history that workers misclassified as independent contractors have simultaneously demanded their rights as employees and their right to form a union,” said Teamsters Vice President Fred Potter.
   Potter made his comments at a press conference that was also attended by Teamsters President Jim Hoffa, who said he “visited with supply chain workers who haul imports and exports to and from the docks at our nation’s largest port, and with the warehouse workers who unpack and reload items onto trucks destined for major retailers like Amazon and Walmart.
   “Every one of these egregiously exploited workers shared stories of their inhumane working conditions and their determination to fight back, not just for themselves but for all of their supply chain co-workers,” said Hoffa. “I told them ‘You have the support of the 1.4 million Teamster members. We will bring justice to port truck drivers and warehouse workers nationwide!’”
   Weston LaBar, executive director of the Harbor Trucker Association, which represents drayage companies serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, said drivers from XPO and Pac 9 were “locked out” from three terminals Monday because there were not enough port police to control protesters at all terminals.
   At terminals where there are police, pickets will delay the entry of trucks into terminals for several minutes but they are eventually allowed to pass, according to LaBar.
   But at terminals that do not have police, he said picketers will block traffic preventing any trucks from entering the terminals. As a result, some terminals tell truckers from companies being struck they cannot pick-up or deliver containers, said LaBar.
   “We are concerned with the precedent this sets,” he said. “These are not sanctioned labor issues, there is no collective bargaining agreement, yet you have a union coming in and trying essentially to lock people out of being able to do business in the ports and we think that is wrong.
   “That impacts trade overall. It creates more congestion, slows down turn times for those terminals that are being affected with any sort of picketing activities. It is the opposite of what the ports are trying to accomplish with supply chain optimization,” he said.
   The Teamsters said it has formed a partnership with a group called Warehouse Workers Resource Center, and will support Cal Cartage warehouse workers that say plan to go on strike today, Oct. 28.
   Last month, the resource center said the warehouse employs a mix of company and contract employees and that some contract employees make only minimum wage. It said workers want salaries to be increased to $15 per hour,  and say that because the warehouse is located on Port of Los Angeles property, workers should be covered by the city’s “living wage” requirement.
   The Los Angeles Times reported last December that workers filed a class-action lawsuit alleging they are owed millions of dollars because employees were not paid a working wage by the City of Los Angeles.
   A Justice for Port Drivers spokeswoman could not provide details on how many drivers are participating in the strike.
   A spokeswoman for XPO Logistics said the protests amount to 12 owner-operators, or around three percent of its fleet of owner-operators. These include two in San Diego, and five each in Long Beach and Los Angeles.
   XPO said the actions have impacted logistics companies’ operations at the two ports because of picketing delays. It said there amount to 10-15 minute delays for XPO as well as at customer facilities.
   “Independent contractors are used widely throughout the trucking business,” said XPO. “We are in regular dialogue with our independent-contract drivers and believe the vast majority of them value the significant benefits of operating independently. We’re committed to helping them succeed.”

Chris Dupin

Chris Dupin has written about trade and transportation and other business subjects for a variety of publications before joining American Shipper and Freightwaves.

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