Searchable Goods Movement Timeline

Welcome to the METRANS Goods Movement Timeline. This is a searchable timeline of activities tied to goods movement, logistics and international trade based upon items from the popular press.

Given our location and the importance of this region as an international trade gateway, many of the entries pertain to Southern California. We do however draw from state and national press as well. Some articles' links may have expired, or you may have to pay a fee or register on the Web site where they originally appeared to access the complete article. Our goal however is to provide the researcher with enough information to track significant events over time as they have occurred in key areas like legislation, finance, and security.

This timeline grew out of timelines initially developed for METRANS research projects in the area of goods movement. Earlier entries (before 2005) were therefore not prepared with a searchable database in mind and will be less detailed. We hope, however, that they remain a useful resource.

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Sep 24, 2018

Tariffs To Hit About One-Fifth Of Cargo Traffic At San Pedro Bay Ports

Print Edition

As much as 23% of cargo moving through the Port of Long Beach and more than 20% of cargo at the Port of Los Angeles stand to be affected by tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports announced by the Trump administration on September 17, according to port representatives.

The 10% tariffs are in addition to 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports enacted earlier this summer. Shortly after those were enacted, the Chinese government responded with in-kind tariffs against American exports to its country.

Mario Cordero, executive director of the Port of Long Beach, said the port had anticipated the new tariffs, as Trump had previously threatened them. However, he noted that originally Trump had proposed 25% tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, rather than 10% tariffs.

But in the official tariff announcement, Trump stated that he would consider increasing the tariffs to 25% if the Chinese government did not act to change its “unfair” trade practices. The president has taken issue with the trade imbalance between China and the United States, as well as what he has characterized as China’s flagrant practice of stealing American intellectual property.

“I believe there will be an impact because we are now at a level of tariffs that are going to apply to a number of commodities across the board which will, in this particular case, come down to the American consumer in terms of additional cost,” Cordero told the Business Journal. “It’s concerning. On the other hand, there is some relief, so to speak, in that the administration has specifically referenced 300 commodities that have been exempted from this particular tariff application.”

Prior to the announcement of additional tariffs, Cordero had forecasted that the Port of Long Beach would exceed overall cargo volumes compared to last year. “Our forecast right now is we are going to continue with positive growth. . . . I’ll stick to that forecast, but we will see what the impact of this latest application of tariffs will have,” he said.

“More than 20% of the total trade value at the Port of L.A. is exposed to the tariffs, meaning that 20% of the items coming into the port from China would be exposed to those tariffs,” Phillip Sanfield, director of media relations for the Port of Los Angeles, told the Business Journal. “That equals about $43 billion of trade value or about 1.4 million container units.”

Sanfield continued, “Our position in general on the tariffs is the port supports effort to engage our training partners abroad to create a rules-based investment system that provides fair and equitable access to foreign markets for U.S. businesses.” In other words, he explained, negotiated talks or settlements instead of tariffs are the best course to resolve trade issues without causing instability.

Cordero reflected, “One of the things that is coming is the holiday shopping season. That’s going to be a true measure in terms of what this impact is, because, ultimately, our economy is based on consumer demand, in large part. So we will wait to see what the consumer answer is.”

If China retaliates, Trump stated that he would impose tariffs on $267 billion of additional Chinese imports.

Print Edition

As much as 23% of cargo moving through the Port of Long Beach and more than 20% of cargo at the Port of Los Angeles stand to be affected by tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports announced by the Trump administration on September 17, according to port representatives.

The 10% tariffs are in addition to 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports enacted earlier this summer. Shortly after those were enacted, the Chinese government responded with in-kind tariffs against American exports to its country.

Oct 11, 2018

L.A. City Council to consider voiding port land-use agreement with troubled trucking company

Online Edition

The Los Angeles City Council could take the rare step this week of voiding a land-use agreement that the Port of Los Angeles has already approved, an aftershock of an ongoing battle with organized labor.

On Friday, Oct. 12, the council is expected to consider whether to deny a land-use permit for trucking company California Transload Services, which wants to continue using 85 acres of city-owned property at 2401 E. Pacific Coast Highway for shipment transferring and truck staging.

The harbor commission approved the agreement Sept. 20, but the tenant, Long Beach-based California Transload, is one of two cargo handlers, along with XPO Logistics, that were picketed by striking truck drivers Oct. 1-3.

The drivers say California Transload misclassifies its truckers as independent contractors instead of employees, and that being classified as contractors robs them of eligibility for benefits such as vacation time, sick pay and workers’ compensation. California Transload’s parent company, NFI Industries, however, has said that most of its drivers prefer the freedom of being contractors.

Because of the ongoing dispute, the city’s Trade, Travel and Tourism Committee is recommending that the City Council pull out of the deal.

“Over the past three years, there have been various violations of, and current investigations into, labor, employment, health and safety, and tax laws,” a report on the matter by the committee said. “It is imperative that the city ensures that operations at the Port of Los Angeles are not affected by labor disruption.”

The truckers’ action earlier this month against California Transload Services and XPO was the 16th small-scale strike at the port in the past five years. But it took place after CTS and the port reached an agreement under which the port would receive about $447,000 per month – more than $5 million annually – for use of the land.

About 700 containers move into and out of the facility daily, representing 2.5 percent of the total import containers transiting the docks, according to port data.

The City Council meeting is scheduled for 10 am. Friday.

Online Edition

The Los Angeles City Council could take the rare step this week of voiding a land-use agreement that the Port of Los Angeles has already approved, an aftershock of an ongoing battle with organized labor.

On Friday, Oct. 12, the council is expected to consider whether to deny a land-use permit for trucking company California Transload Services, which wants to continue using 85 acres of city-owned property at 2401 E. Pacific Coast Highway for shipment transferring and truck staging.

Oct 01, 2018

This is why truck drivers, warehouse workers are striking at the L.A.-Long Beach port complex

Online Edition

Port drivers and warehouse workers took up bullhorns and picket signs Monday, Oct. 1, in the first of a three-day strike over the ongoing independent-contractor labor dispute.

Some 300 pickets were in play from San Diego to Los Angeles, one organizer said, as truck drivers employed by XPO Logistics — working at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach — took to the streets around company facilities, marine terminals, rail yards, warehouses and distribution centers used by XPO and NFI Industries.

“We’re tired of living in poverty,” said truck driver Gustavo Villa, 63, of Maywood, who was among pickets at the NFI facility in Wilmington. He has been driving trucks for a living since 1991.

“We have no insurance,” he added, “no vacation time, no sick time. People need to understand that our families have to get support.”

Carrying picket signs that read “We are all NFI employees!” and chanting “No Justice, No Peace!” the workers occasionally walked across entrances to slow incoming trucks, drawing loud horn blasts from those drivers waiting or passing by on the street. The protesters represented a fraction of the thousands of drivers registered to haul goods to and from the ports and warehouses

Alice Walton of NFI, in a written statement, said the Teamsters have failed through the years to formally organize the warehouse workers, who “have the absolute right to determine whether or not to organize.”

The independent contractors, she said, “want to continue to be their own bosses and run their own small businesses. We respect their desire to operate as independent business people and not as employees of our companies or the hundreds of other trucking companies that are currently looking to hire employee drivers.”

Truckers classified as independent contractors, rather than employees, are not eligible for minimum wage or benefits such as health insurance and holiday pay.

The push, led by the Teamsters, to change how the truckers are classified has been ongoing for years, with pressure being put on the companies and the harbor commissioners.

As part of the strike, the Teamsters called on these companies’ customers, including powerhouses such as Toyota and Amazon, “to use their market power to rid the U.S. supply chain of ‘indentured servitude,’” according to a news release from Justice for Port Truck Drivers.

The workers’ rights are being “trampled on” by employers, said Fred Potter Jr., vice president at large for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. “They are, in fact, employees … and drivers have had enough.”

This is the 16th strike in five years, as the Teamsters try to bring more attention to what they view as the plight of the workers; next, Potter said, the movement’s sights could be turned onto retailers.

Truck maintenance, fuel and other costs of doing business as independent contractors are a burden, said driver Jesus Maldonado, 58, of Panorama City.

“Everything is too high,” Maldonado said, adding that the new liquefied natural gas trucks — required under port plans to reduce emissions — are expensive to maintain.

“They’re no good, the parts, you can’t find them,” he added.

The short-term strikes have been used as a negotiating tactic and are designed to cause congestion and delays, Teamsters Local 848 Representative Reyes Magana was quoted as saying in a Sept. 27, 2018, Southern California News Group article.

Since 2011, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement within the state Labor Commission’s Office has received more than 900 complaints from port drivers over misclassification, according to that same article. More than 400 decisions, awarding $46 million of back pay and penalties to drivers, have been issued according to state records.

An estimated 17,000 trucks are registered to work at the adjoining ports, with about 75 percent of those rigs active on a monthly basis.

Online Edition

Port drivers and warehouse workers took up bullhorns and picket signs Monday, Oct. 1, in the first of a three-day strike over the ongoing independent-contractor labor dispute.

Some 300 pickets were in play from San Diego to Los Angeles, one organizer said, as truck drivers employed by XPO Logistics — working at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach — took to the streets around company facilities, marine terminals, rail yards, warehouses and distribution centers used by XPO and NFI Industries.

Oct 03, 2018

Dozens of Teamsters and their supporters were arrested while protesting near the ports of L.A., Long Beach. This is why

Online Edition

The Teamsters wrapped up three days of protesting unfair treatment of port truck drivers by doing something on Wednesday, Oct. 3, that they said had never been done in the union’s 115-year history: they got arrested — intentionally.

Over the past three days, hundreds of teamsters picketed at and near marine terminals, rail yards, warehouses and distribution centers across Southern California, including those that support the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, as a way to protest what they say is the misclassification of workers as independent contractors rather than employees. Workers have long argued that being classified as contractors  robs them benefits such as vacation time, sick pay and workers’ compensation.

So on Wednesday afternoon, the pickets culminated their efforts to drum up publicity and support by marching from the Wilmington Waterfront Park to the corner of Figueroa Street and John S. Gibson Boulevard, holding hands and sitting in a circle in the middle of the intersection, and chanting slogans — effectively blocking the 110 Freeway onramp.

So on Wednesday afternoon, the pickets culminated their efforts to drum up publicity and support by marching from the Wilmington Waterfront Park to the corner of Figueroa Street and John S. Gibson Boulevard, holding hands and sitting in a circle in the middle of the intersection, and chanting slogans — effectively blocking the 110 Freeway onramp.

After about 15 minutes, Los Angeles police officers ordered them to leave. When they refused, the officers arrested them one at a time.

The Teamster have shut down the Harry Bridges entrance to the N 110 Freeway in a display of civil disobedience. 40-50 people have volunteered to be arrested for the protest. pic.twitter.com/qdxNPuCly8

The civil disobedience, however, was worked out with police in advance, the Teamsters said: Before the rally, union organizers notified the Los Angeles Police Department that they would block traffic, so when they arrived, the police and California Highway Patrol officers were waiting for them.

“They’re going to keep striking until they get justice,” she said of the disgruntled drivers. “They’re going to keep striking, they’re going to keep filing lawsuits, they’re going to keep filing claims with the California Labor Commissioner.”

 

Online Edition

The Teamsters wrapped up three days of protesting unfair treatment of port truck drivers by doing something on Wednesday, Oct. 3, that they said had never been done in the union’s 115-year history: they got arrested — intentionally.

Sep 24, 2018

This is why retailers could be on the hook if the trucking companies they hire break labor laws

Online Edition

Retailers who hire port trucking companies that break state labor rules will soon face joint liability under a new law recently signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Under Senate Bill 1402, passed by the state Legislature late last month, retailers that hire trucking companies with unpaid legal judgments against them will become jointly liable should those companies commit new violations of state labor and employment laws. Such violations include failing to pay wages, imposing unlawful expenses on employees, not providing worker’s compensation insurance and incorrectly classifying employees as independent contractors.

The law, signed Saturday, Sept. 22, is intended to protect the state’s approximately 25,000 port truck drivers from wage theft and illegal pay deductions, according to its author, state Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens.

“Port trucking touches the lives of every Southern Californian, whether they know it or not,” Lara said on Monday, Sept. 24. “With 40 percent of America’s cargo traffic coming through the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, you are probably wearing something that a port truck driver delivered to a warehouse or retail store.”

Lara’s district includes the Port of Long Beach and the southeastern portion of Los Angeles County.

“Nearly one in 10 jobs in Southern California is directly connected to the ports, and creating good jobs for port truckers raises the bar for our whole region,” Lara added.

SB 1402 also mandates that retailers have access to a list of trucking companies that failed to pay final judgments, with the list prepared and maintained by the state Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.

None of the state’s major seaports took a position on the bill when it was introduced to the Legislature earlier this year. But the mayors representing California’s three largest ports — Long Beach’s Robert Garcia, Los Angeles’ Eric Garcetti and Oakland’s Libby Schaaf — all publicly supported it.

Online Edition

Retailers who hire port trucking companies that break state labor rules will soon face joint liability under a new law recently signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Sep 28, 2018

Harbor commission approves $870 million budget for rail yard project at Port of Long Beach

Online Edition

A plan that could potentially eliminate tons of harmful air emissions at the Port of Long Beach each year by shifting more shipping containers from trucks to trains will move forward, after the harbor commission’s recent approval of the project’s $870 million budget.

The project, approved earlier this month, includes reconfiguring, expanding and enhancing the capacity of the existing Pier B on-dock rail facility, increasing the port’s ability to build longer trains. Those trains could then move more cargo more quickly — reducing the number of diesel-spewing trucks on the road. Each on-dock rail train saves about 750 truck trips between the port and off-dock rail yards, according to port data.

The first train tracks are expected to be completed in 2024, according to the port; more would come online in 2030 and the project would be finished by 2032.

  • A train at the Pier B railyard at the Port of Long Beach. In September 2018, the port approved a plan to reconfigure the location to add more on-dock rail capacity. (Courtesy of the Port of Long Beach)
  • The Port of Long Beach’s Pier B is scheduled to undergo an $870 million renovation beginning in 2014, with completion expected in 2032. (Courtesy of the Port of Long Beach)
  • A train at the Pier B railyard at the Port of Long Beach. In September 2018, the port approved a plan to reconfigure the location to add more on-dock rail capacity. (Courtesy of the Port of Long Beach)

The port’s eventual goal is to ship 35 percent of its containers by on-dock rail, an increase from the current 25-to-26 percent, but there is no specific target date to reach that percentage, Peterson said.

The port has said that it expects demand for on-dock rail in the harbor to double by 2035.

Online Edition

A plan that could potentially eliminate tons of harmful air emissions at the Port of Long Beach each year by shifting more shipping containers from trucks to trains will move forward, after the harbor commission’s recent approval of the project’s $870 million budget.

Sep 26, 2018

Southern California ports will suffer if trade war with China continues

Online Edition

Southern California’s ports are beginning to feel the sting of the trade war between the U.S. and China, and things could worsen if the dispute continues, according to the latest UCLA Anderson Forecast.

The tit-for-tat exchange intensified Monday when the U.S. and China imposed new tariffs on each other’s products.

U.S. regulators imposed a 10 percent tax on a $200 billion list of 5,745 Chinese imports, including bicycles and furniture. China’s customs agency responded by beginning to collect taxes of 5 or 10 percent on a $60 billion list of 5,207 American goods ranging from honey to industrial chemicals.

Feeling the impact

The Port of Los Angeles said the tariffs will impact about $43 billion worth of trade value — about 20 percent of the total freight value that passes through the port each year.

In a statement, port officials said “negotiated settlement, instead of tariffs, represents the best pathway to resolving outstanding trade issues without creating uncertainty and instability that will negatively impact our port.”

Inland Empire economist John Husing said year-over-year import volume for the combined ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach fell 14.6 percent in March, 1.3 percent in July and 3.1 percent in August.

“This is showing the effects of the tariffs,” Husing said. “Logistics is one of our biggest economic drivers and it’s an industry where marginally educated people can get into jobs that lead to middle-income pay. The tariffs will end up being paid for by the lower middle class and by poor people. Walmart has already said its prices will be going up.”

The Anderson Forecast’s new third-quarter report predicts that California’s economy will slow in 2020, consistent with a slowing of the national economy.

The job front

The report shows California’s non-farm payroll employment hit 17.2 million in July. That was 10.6 percent higher than the state’s pre-recession peak and 21 percent higher than during the depths of the recession.

Momentum has slowed, however. Total employment growth — which includes farm workers, non-farm workers and non-payroll sole proprietors — posted annual growth of 0.7 percent in July, down from the 2 percent year-over-year growth seen a year earlier.

The report links that partly to a nearly 4 percent reduction in farm employment since China responded to U.S. tariffs with duties on agricultural exports from the U.S.

Healthcare, leisure and hospitality lead the way

California’s biggest year-over-year job gains for July came in healthcare and leisure and hospitality, a trend that reflects an ongoing demand among aging and retiring baby boomers. Both sectors added nearly 60,000 jobs.

Education followed with 40,000 jobs added and construction was close behind with about 38,000 jobs. The biggest loss of about 9,000 jobs came in the manufacturing of non-durable goods.

The report predicts total employment growth of 1.2 percent for 2018, 1.5 percent for 2019, and 0.5 percent for 2020. California’s unemployment rate has held steady at 4.2 percent for five months and that’s expected to hit 4.4 percent by 2020. Homebuilding is expected to increase to 140,000 units a year by 2020, up from the current rate of about 110,000 units a year.

A leader in technology

California remains the center of high tech and innovation worldwide, according to the forecast. As of July 2018, Los Angeles had the largest tech workforce with 446,000 jobs, followed by Silicon Valley’s 346,000 and San Francisco’s 268,000.

The study notes that while the S&P 500 stock index increased by 154 percent over the past eight years, the Nasdaq index — half of which is comprised of tech firms — increased by 275 percent. The Golden State is home to some of the biggest players in the industry, including Apple, Google and Facebook.

Wages in the tech sector are good. In 2017, the nation’s median annual wage for computer jobs was $84,560, while the median wage for all occupations was less than $37,700. The report shows tech wages rose dramatically between 2010 and 2017.

In 2010, for example, the median annual pay for a tech job in Orange County was $90,000; in 2017 it was more than $100,000. Los Angeles County jumped to $105,000 from $91,000 a year.

Funding for startups

The report also looks at the number of tech startups financed between January and September from 2011 to 2017.

San Francisco led the way with 909 funding deals valued at $22.2 billion. That was followed by the Silicon Valley (643 valued at $18.3 billion), Los Angeles (307 valued at $9.13 billion) and Orange County (112 valued at $2.13 billion).

Online Edition

Southern California’s ports are beginning to feel the sting of the trade war between the U.S. and China, and things could worsen if the dispute continues, according to the latest UCLA Anderson Forecast.

The tit-for-tat exchange intensified Monday when the U.S. and China imposed new tariffs on each other’s products.

Sep 27, 2018

This is why the Teamsters say L.A., Long Beach port truck drivers will go on strike Monday, Oct. 1

Online Edition

A group of port truck drivers who haul goods to and from the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles plan to launch a three-day labor strike on Monday, Oct. 1, a representative for the Teamsters said Wednesday, Sept. 26.

“We’re here to put you on notice that we’re fed up and we’re going on strike,” Preston Richie, a business representative for Teamsters Local 848 told the Port of Long Beach Harbor Commission during its meeting this week. “We’re preparing picket signs as we speak.”

The strike, Richie told the five-member commission, is meant to protest the “fraudulent” misclassification of workers as independent contractors, instead of as employees, by the trucking companies they work for.

Truckers classified as contractors are not eligible for a minimum wage, or fringe benefits such as health insurance or holiday pay.

Picketing is expected to take place at company facilities, marine terminals, rail yards, warehouses and distribution centers used by the companies XPO Logistics and NFI Industries. Richie and other union officials did not return phone calls and emails requesting comment.

Strikers usually umber around 100, a fraction of the thousands of drivers registered to haul goods.

The Long Beach Police Department said the strike would take place within the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Harbor Division. The Port of Los Angeles did not respond to request for comment.

Port of Long Beach spokesman Lee Peterson, though, said the port was aware of the upcoming strike — but expects disruptions to be minimal.

“Other than LB police officers and POLB Harbor Patrol officers assigned to ensure safety at any picketing areas in the port,” Peterson said, “no special measures are anticipated.”

Drivers have increasingly turned to short-term strikes as a negotiating tactic. There have been an estimated 15 pickets at the LA-Long Beach port complex over the past five years, according to Teamsters Local 848 Representative Reyes Magaña.

“These strikes have caused congestion, delays and negative publicity,” Magaña said. “Until the abuse of drivers ends, the Port of Long Beach will continue to face labor unrest.”

Since 2011, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement within the state Labor Commissioner’s Office has received more than 900 complaints from port drivers over misclassification. To date, the labor division has issued more than 400 decisions, awarding $46 million of back pay and penalties to drivers, according to state records.

An estimated 17,000 trucks are registered to work at the adjoining ports, according to Port of Long Beach data, with about 75 percent of those rig active on a monthly basis. In 2017, about 300,000 truck moves a month were completed at the port.

Online Edition

A group of port truck drivers who haul goods to and from the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles plan to launch a three-day labor strike on Monday, Oct. 1, a representative for the Teamsters said Wednesday, Sept. 26.

“We’re here to put you on notice that we’re fed up and we’re going on strike,” Preston Richie, a business representative for Teamsters Local 848 told the Port of Long Beach Harbor Commission during its meeting this week. “We’re preparing picket signs as we speak.”

Sep 19, 2018

This is why the Port of Los Angeles is getting $41 million to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions with hydrogen fuel-cell trucks

Online Edition

The Port of Los Angeles was awarded $41 million from the California Air Resources Board for a project to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by promoting the use of hydrogen fuel-cell trucks.

The Zero-Emission and Near Zero-Emission Freight Facilities project has an initial phase cost of more than $85 million, with its partners providing 50.2 percent in matching funds, according to the announcement last week.

The project, which was proposed with support from Toyota, Kenworth, and Shell, provides a large-scale “shore to store” plan and a hydrogen fuel-cell-electric technology framework for freight facilities working at the port.

Officials said the initiative will help reduce emissions by 465 metric tons of greenhouse gas and 0.72 weighted tons of nitrogen oxide, reactive organic gases and PM10, which stands for particulate matter 10 micrometers in diameter or less. The project is also part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental initiatives.

“The Port of Los Angeles is showing the world that we don’t need to choose between environmental stewardship and economic growth — and this funding will help put zero emissions goods movement within our reach,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “I am grateful to CARB for this investment in America’s port, as we continue to lead the drive toward a more sustainable future.”

The Port of Los Angeles will develop the project in several phases and will eventually encompass other initiatives in Southern California, the Central Coast area, and Merced County. The project includes the use of hydrogen fuel-cell-electric trucks and the installation of hydrogen fueling stations around the region.

“This matching grant from CARB’s California Climate Investments program is critically needed funding support to develop and commercialize the next generation of clean port equipment and drayage trucks, as well as the infrastructure to support it,” Port Executive Director Gene Seroka said. “This grant funds a public-private collaboration that is representative of our commitment to being a ‘market maker’ through collaborative technology and fuel infrastructure development with industry leaders like Toyota, Kenworth and Shell.”

Online Edition

The Port of Los Angeles was awarded $41 million from the California Air Resources Board for a project to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by promoting the use of hydrogen fuel-cell trucks.

The Zero-Emission and Near Zero-Emission Freight Facilities project has an initial phase cost of more than $85 million, with its partners providing 50.2 percent in matching funds, according to the announcement last week.

Sep 19, 2018

Long Beach company ordered to pay workers $3.5 million in back wages

Online Edition

A Long Beach company that has a federal contract to perform work at the Los Angeles–Long Beach port complex will fork over $3 million in back wages to more than 1,000 workers after the company was found to have violated federal law by not paying employees prevailing wages, or giving them holiday pay and vacation time.

California Cartage Co. has been ordered to pay $3.57 million to more than 1,400 workers – an average of $2,523 each – after a U.S. Department of Labor investigation revealed it had failed to pay its workers a fair wage, the department confirmed Sept. 19.

The company has a federal contract to move cargo containers to a centralized examination facility at the Long Beach-Los Angeles port complex when those containers are selected for inspection by Customs & Border Protection. Under federal law, private companies receiving federal money must pay workers the prevailing wage of the area in which they are employed, and offer similar benefits.

“No contractor receiving federal funds to provide services to the government should gain an economic advantage by paying workers below the wages and fringe benefits required by applicable law,” said Kimchi Bui, district director for the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division. “Workers must be paid what they are legally owed for their work.”

Bui’s division launched an investigation after employees complained. Investigators ultimately found that from late November 2014 to around the same time in 2016 the Long Beach company underpaid its employees and didn’t offer appropriate benefits, a Labor Department spokesman said. California Cartage also underpaid five subcontractors, which forced those companies to in turn underpay their employees.

California Cartage, headquartered near the Long Beach Airport, was locally owned until October 2017, when it was bought by a New Jersey company called National Freight Industries, one of the largest goods movement companies in the U.S.

In a statement, National Freight said that all employees at the customs exam operation are now paid the required prevailing wage in compliance with applicable laws. The statement also said the rates are “continually monitored” to ensure compliance.

Online Edition

A Long Beach company that has a federal contract to perform work at the Los Angeles–Long Beach port complex will fork over $3 million in back wages to more than 1,000 workers after the company was found to have violated federal law by not paying employees prevailing wages, or giving them holiday pay and vacation time.