The council has requested that the city attorney submit a written report with options regarding how to mandate fair wages and working conditions for employees that work for companies operating on City of Los Angeles property.
The Los Angeles City Council on Dec. 12 approved a resolution that asks city staff to look at the possibility of banning from the Port of Los Angeles trucking companies that have been found to misclassify their truck drivers as independent contractors rather than employees.
The motion, which was approved unanimously by the council, represents a victory of sorts for the Teamsters union, which has been campaigning for years to gain employee status for the thousands of drivers who say they deserve the right to be considered full time employees and deserve the benefits that come with such status, such as a minimum wage and sick pay.
Specifically, the council wants to determine whether Los Angeles land use laws can be used to deny access to port property by companies which repeatedly violate state and employment laws.
In its resolution, the council has requested that the city attorney submit a written report with options regarding how to mandate fair wages and working conditions for employees that work for companies operating on City of Los Angeles property.
The resolution also requests an analysis of the city’s legal responsibility for reporting violations of local, state and federal labor and employment laws to the proper enforcement agencies.
Also included is a directive to recommend state legislation to “improve the conditions of truckers and warehouse workers at the port, or to enable the city to enact regulations of its own to address these concerns.”
Since 2010, at least 1,150 port truck drivers have filed claims in civil court or with the state labor commission alleging misclassification and wage theft by trucking companies operating at the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex.
According to the City of LA, judges have sided with drivers in more than 97 percent of the cases heard, ruling that California port truckers can’t legally be classified as independent contractors.
As a result, some LA City Council members has said they believe that it’s important to take a closer look at potential violations and their impact on the port and identify solutions to protect truck drivers and warehouse workers.
Councilmember Joe Buscaino and Mike Bonin, in particular, have stated their support of drayage truckers’ fight to gain employee status.
Buscaino said that it is unacceptable for companies to profit on city property by exploiting human beings, while Bonin stated that it was time for the council to look at this matter from a new perspective and consider applying land use nuisance abatement law as grounds for evicting law-breaking companies from the port.
The council motion did not set a deadline for the city attorney’s office to return its findings, but historically reports are returned to the council by city employees anywhere from a few weeks to a few months after being requested.