Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Contract drivers for Pacific 9 Transportation trucking company went on strike Tuesday at the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex to protest what they call hiring practices that cheat them out of their full pay.

At least 10 people picketed and caused “very minor traffic delays on occasion” at the Tra-Pac marine terminal at the Port of Los Angeles, but cargo activity at the port was “normal,” port spokesman Phillip Sanfield said.

This is the sixth time Pac 9 drivers have gone on strike to challenge their status as independent contractors, instead of full-time employees, according to International Brotherhood of Teamsters officials who are working to organize the drivers.

“I’ve been a port truck driver for five years and I have never worked for a company that treats their workers like Pac 9,” contract driver Pedro Martinez said. “The company refuses to recognize us as employees, refuses to provide us with safe and reliable trucks and refuses to improve our work environment.”

The strike will go on indefinitely, with drivers planning to apply for work at another trucking firm, Eco Flow Transportation, which recently agreed to allow its workers to negotiate a union contract, according to Teamsters officials.

Port drivers are also in the midst of bringing their grievances to the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, union officials said.

Teamsters officials announced Tuesday that a state appeals court lifted a temporary stay on the hearings involving about 40 Pac 9 drivers. The hearings, originally scheduled for Monday, are now set to begin this coming Monday.

Teamsters officials said the drivers are presenting wage theft claims valued at $6 million, which comes out to about $150,000 for each driver.

—City News Service

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