Toll Global Forwarding has been selected by the Port of Los Angeles to negotiate a lease for a prime warehousing location currently used by NFI’s Cal Cartage unit.
The Port of Los Angeles has announced that Toll Global Forwarding has been selected to negotiate with the port to lease an 85-acre site in the Wilmington section of the city that includes 600,000 square feet of warehouse space and land for harbor trucking operations. The agreement is subject to the successful negotiation of a lease and a permit under the California Environmental Quality Act.
The port’s lease of the property at 2410 E. Pacific Coast Highway in the Wilmington section of Los Angeles became a subject of controversy in recent years as the current tenant, the Cal Cartage subsidiary of NFI Group, and the Teamsters union engaged in a struggle over unionizing workers.
NFI said in January said it was “left with no option but to close the warehouse in July 2019 as a result of failure to renew the company’s lease agreement. That failure is a direct result of the strategy undertaken by the Teamsters to spread misinformation and untrue statements about Cal Cartage as part of its continued effort to organize Cal Cartage’s Wilmington employees, despite the employees overwhelmingly voting against unionization.”
NFI in January said about 800 people worked at the site and that it was working with existing customers including Lowe’s, Amazon, TJ Maxx and Sears/Kmart to move them to other company-operated facilities in the region.
The Teamsters on Monday hailed the announcement about the selection of Toll.
“The Teamsters have been supporting NFI/California Cartage drivers and warehouse workers in their fight for justice for more than five years and we will continue to support their goal to become Teamsters,” said Fred Potter, vice president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and director of the Teamsters Port Division. “Toll has been a responsible employer for the Teamsters at the Ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach and in New Jersey and has a demonstrable track record of following the law and respecting employees’ right to bargain collectively for a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. If a majority of the workers choose to join the Teamsters Union, then we are ready to work with Toll to make this enormous investment in our nation’s supply chain a success for the company, the workers and the Los Angeles community.”
Last year, the Board of Harbor Commissioners for the Port of Los Angeles approved a revocable permit that allowed the NFI/Cal Cartage unit California Transload Services to continue to operate at the property, paying rent of $5.4 million per year, but the Los Angeles City Council vetoed the approval in October.
“Toll now has the opportunity to negotiate a lease with the port, act as a responsible employer by raising standards for workers at the site and lead the port trucking industry into a new era in which the misclassification of truck drivers as ‘independent contractors’ is a rare criminal issue rather than the dominant business model at America’s largest port complex,” said Eric Tate, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 848, which represents more than 500 port truck drivers at the Ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach.