Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Striking port truck drivers will again be walking a picket line Wednesday, this time at Union Pacific’s Los Angeles Transportation Center as they and their counterparts in San Diego continue their strike against the short haul transport companies for which they work.

Drivers will be joined on the picket line by former employees of Walmart’s Pico Rivera store, which was closed on April 13, due to alleged “plumbing problems.”

Union officials did not immediately say how long the collective job action would last, but one said in a background interview that he expects it to last at least until Friday.

Drivers working at the ports Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Diego began their strike Monday in hopes of getting employers to abide by a recent ruling that the drivers are being misclassified as “independent contractors.” The misclassification allows companies to pay them less than minimum wage, a spokeswoman for the drivers said in a statement, and a single driver can end up being shortchanged up to $60,000 a year.

The drayage firms being targeted by picketers are: Pacer Cartage, with offices in San Diego and Commerce; Pacific 9 Transportation, with offices in Carson and Long Beach; Harbor Rail Transport, with an office in Rancho Dominguez; and Intermodal Bridge Transport, with an office in Long Beach.

Retailers affected by the strike, according to the strikers, include Wal- Mart, Toyota, Costco, Target, General Electric, Forever 21, Louis Vuitton, CVS, Procter and Gamble, Macy’s, Family Dollar, and JC Penney.

About 200 of the estimated 500 drivers associated with the four companies subject to the strike were on the picket lines Monday.

For the third day, picketers in San Diego targeted trucks bringing cargo to Toyota’s Otay Mesa facility just north of the U.S.-Mexico border intended to be transferred to Toyota’s Mexico manufacturing plants. They’ve previously caused a significant disruption to the company’s cross-border operations, the statement said.

The labor dispute began in Los Angeles and Long Beach three years ago when drivers sued the drayage companies over the so-called misclassification, and filed various claims and class action suits for wage theft.

Drivers for Shippers Transport Express have since been reclassified as company employees, but other drayage companies have not followed suit.

The drivers announced Monday that “11th hour negotiations” had resulted in a “comprehensive labor peace agreement” between the Teamsters union and the Green Fleet Systems drayage firm. Details of that agreement were not disclosed.

—City News Service

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