Teamsters with the Port Division in Los Angeles celebrated the City Council’s unanimous passage of a resolution Wednesday compelling trucking and warehousing companies to adhere to labor laws.
The Los Angeles City Council voted 15-0 to demand that cargo owners clean up their supply chains and work exclusively with trucking and warehousing companies that comply with labor and human rights standards embedded in their own corporate codes of conduct.
“The message being sent by the City Council is clear: If you want to do business in Los Angeles, then you must follow the law and respect the human rights of working families,” said Ron Herrera, president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.
The resolution states that the city will urge all Port trucking and warehouse operators to comply with local, state and federal laws, including laws regarding worker classification, wage and hour issues, labor rights, health and safety.
The resolution was inspired by allegations against NFI/Cal Cartage, a company that warehouse employees reported was operating under unsuitable working conditions.
“For years, we have shared our stories of the exploitation and abuse that took place on city property at the NFI/Cal Cartage warehouse. Under NFI, the warehouse looked like a prison and the company treated us like inmates. When we spoke up, we were met with retaliation and intimidation,” said Jeremy Hoke, a warehouse worker employed by NFI/Cal Cartage for 13 years. “We endured a lot, but we stuck together and stood strong.”
The resolution also stated the city would encourage customers who left when the NFI/Cal Cartage warehouse was vacated to bring their business back to the Port, which will provide work for the employees who previously moved their goods. The Toll Group has taken over the property previously leased by NFI Industries.
Cal Carthage operated at the warehouse for more than five decades, but closed the site in July after a labor dispute in which Port workers went on strike.
“This is a very sad day for Cal Carthage, our employees, our customers and the Wilmington community,” Sid Brown, CEO of NFI, which owns Cal Carthage, said in January.
The City Council voted in 2018 to review a revocable permit for the Cal Carthage warehouse at 2401 E. Pacific Coast Highway amid concerns about its labor practices.
In a news release issued in January, the NFI said its operational permit negotiations were unsuccessful because of Teamsters’ efforts to organize Wilmington employees, though they “overwhelmingly” voted against unionization.