Port of Los Angeles. Photo by John Schreiber

Truck drivers and warehouse workers from companies serving the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports expanded their strike Tuesday to protest being classified as independent contractors, which they say is a scheme to deny them just compensation.

Barb Maynard, a representative for truckers and workers, said the strike involves several of the large companies that do transport business at the ports.

On Monday morning workers picketed at the XPO Logistics facility in Commerce, and later picketed at “all marine terminals on both the L.A. and Long Beach side, as well as at Intermodal Container Transfer Facility-Port of Los Angeles,” Maynard said.

Tuesday, the strike expanded to four subsidiaries of market leader California Cartage and Chinese-government owned Intermodal Bridge Transport, and the the strike continued at XPO Logistics

Picketing starting at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday at Intermodal Bridge Transportation in Long Beach, California Cartage Warehouse, K&R Transportation, Cal Cartage Express in Wilmington, CMI in Wilmington, XPO Cartage in Commerce, and XPO Service in Rancho Dominguez.

Picketing also started at 6:30 a.m. at XPO San Diego, 10250 Airway Road, in San Diego.

At 9 a.m., picketing is planned at Los Angeles and Long Beach marine terminals.

And at 2:30 p.m., rally is planned at Promenade Square at First Street and The Promenade in Long Beach, followed by a 3 p.m. march to City Hall at 333 W. Ocean Blvd. for a 4 p.m. news conference.

According to a truckers’ statement Monday, they are protesting “exploitation by greedy corporations using predatory subcontracting schemes, including misclassifying employees as independent workers in order to lower wages, deny them benefits such as health insurance, unemployment, and workers’ compensation.”

The strike is the 15th at the ports in the last four years. Because of the large number of companies operating at the Port of Los Angeles, the strikes have had “minimal” effect on port operations, Phillip Sanfield, a Port of Los Angeles spokesman, told the Los Angeles Times.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia recently announced a goal of requiring zero emission trucks at the ports by 2035.

“We support clean air, but there was no mention on how this Clean Air Action Plan would impact the drivers. We are concerned about who will end up paying for it,” said Eric Tate, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 848.

“The last time they did this in 2008 with the Clean Truck Program, the corporations ended up passing on the cost to the workers by requiring them to lease a truck in order to get hired and illegally misclassifying them as `independent contractors,’ leaving very little for the workers to take home to their families. We don’t want that to happen again,” he said.

—City News Service

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