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Jun 05, 2012

Canadian Pacific Rail Resumes Operations

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About 4,800 striking Canadian Pacific Rail workers have returned to work following the passage of the Restoring Rail Service Act, legislation that forces members of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference union to return to their jobs.

According to CP Rail, operations resumed without incident at about 7 am June 1 across the company’s Canadian freight network in response to passage of the legislation, which became law May 31. It was passed last Thursday by the Canadian Senate.

Earlier in the week, the House of Commons also approved the bill, which mandates that the union and railway submit to binding arbitration, and that the government-appointed arbitrator has 90 days to construct a deal.

The Restoring Rail Service Act had been drafted in response to the nationwide strike, which began May 23 and suspended freight service across the country by CP, Canada’s second-largest railway. The strike was launched by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference in response to an impasse with railway management during contract talks.

Among the issues the union and management had struggled with during contract talks were pensions and fatigue management, according to negotiators.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference represents bargaining units of nearly 5,000 workers – 4,200 locomotive engineers, conductors, trainspersons and yardmen, as well as 220 rail traffic controllers. The collective agreements for both units expired at the end of 2011.

The labor unrest came at a very inopportune time for Canadian Pacific, which just appointed an interim CEO about a week before the strike was launched, and also elected a new 16-member board of directors.

Former CEO Fred Green resigned from CP Rail May 17 after a four-month battle over control of the direction of the company with activist investor Bill Ackman.

In other Canadian Pacific news, the railway elected a new chairman of its board of directors, Paul Haggis, on June 4. Haggis has extensive financial markets and public board experience and is currently Chairman of the Alberta Enterprise Corp. and CA Bancorp. He also is a corporate director of other public and crown corporations, according to CP Rail, including Advantage Oil & Gas.

Online Edition

About 4,800 striking Canadian Pacific Rail workers have returned to work following the passage of the Restoring Rail Service Act, legislation that forces members of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference union to return to their jobs.

According to CP Rail, operations resumed without incident at about 7 am June 1 across the company’s Canadian freight network in response to passage of the legislation, which became law May 31. It was passed last Thursday by the Canadian Senate.

Nov 12, 2018

Long Beach clean water projects to receive millions of dollars in port grant funding

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Four stormwater control projects that aim to improve water quality in and around Long Beach will receive a total of $3 million from the Port of Long Beach as part of the port’s latest round of community grant funding, the port said Tuesday, Nov. 13.

The port’s five-member harbor commission unanimously approved the funding. Recipients include the City of Long Beach’s Public Works Department, which is receiving $1 million for its Long Beach Municipal Urban Stormwater, or LB MUST, treatment project. LB MUST aims to improve water quality by intercepting and treating wastewater flow during dry weather and stormwater runoff that normally discharges into the Los Angeles River. The project also includes adding about five acres of new coastal marsh and migratory watering areas by the river.

Also receiving $1 million is the Rancho Los Cerritos museum and garden in Long Beach’s Los Cerritos neighborhood, which plans to use the funds for a type of pavement that allows liquids to pass through it, plus an underground water storage tank.

Receiving $603,441 is the Long Beach Council of Camp Fire, which runs summer camp and club programs for local children, as well as community outreach programs. Its grant goes toward an environmentally friendly parking lot. Green parking lots typically have parking surfaces that allow better drainage of water than standard ones.

Additionally, the Willmore City Heritage Association will receive $440,000 for construction of a system that would use grass or other dense plants to filter out sediment and oily materials at the Willmore Heritage Garden at Seventh and Maine streets. It opened in 2012 as part of a neighborhood beautification project.

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Four stormwater control projects that aim to improve water quality in and around Long Beach will receive a total of $3 million from the Port of Long Beach as part of the port’s latest round of community grant funding, the port said Tuesday, Nov. 13.

Nov 15, 2018

Ontario airport surpasses Atlanta to become nation’s busiest outbound freight hub

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Ontario International Airport has always been a busy freight hub, but for at least one month it was the nation’s busiest for outbound shipments.

According to a monthly survey by FreightWaves, a trade journal that tracks the movement of goods, 4.63 percent of all goods shipped by American airports in October were loaded onto planes taking off at Ontario. In Atlanta, which had been the market leader for most of 2018, the outbound tally was 4.51 percent.

Air freight volume has increased sharply, on a year-to-year basis, in the two years since the Ontario International Airport Authority took local control over the Inland Empire’s main airport.  According to an ONT statement, in the first nine months of the year, 521,705 tons of freight volume moved through the airport, an 18 percent increase over the same period in 2017.

“Those operations are huge, and they’re growing. The tonnage is spectacular,” said economist John Husing, who monitors the Inland Empire’s logistics industry. “Part of the growth has to do with e-commerce, but it’s also imports in general, which are growing.”

United Parcel Service and Federal Express both operate regional shipping hubs at ONT, and Amazon also moves a considerable amount of goods there. Airport officials approved a 30-year lease arrangement with FedEx in June, and the company plans to develop 50 additional acres on the northeast side that will nearly triple Fed Ex’s current operating space, according to the ONT statement.

Much of the volume comes from freight that is unloaded at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and shipped on surface routes to the airport to be transported across the country, usually with stops in Inland warehouses.

Atlanta, which has one of the country’s largest airports, has been rated the busiest for outbound freight for most of the year, but according to FreightWaves’ research, the city had a slack October.

“The western ports have been overloaded with inboard containers from China, and this is a large factor why we are seeing this changing of the guard,” FreightWaves’ Zach Strickland wrote in his report. Analysts have noted a surge in foreign shipments as importers try to move more good in advance of possible tariffs.

Also, much of the goods offloaded at East Coast ports tend to travel only a few hundred miles to their final destination. Shipments to the West Coast often are shipped all over the country. Strickland also wrote that truck drivers could flock to the West Coast during the holiday season because there would be more work there.

After Los Angeles World Airports gave up control of ONT, local officials initiated a marketing campaign to increase both passenger and freight traffic, and Mark Thorpe, CEO of the airport authority, said it’s working on multiple fronts. To increase passenger flights, representatives travel to airline offices around the world pitching ONT, he said.

Advertising flight options to local travelers can vary, Thorpe said. China Airlines, which provides flights to Taiwan, prefers ads in traditional media, while JetBlue, which recently added routes to and from New York, uses social media and other more modern means.

There’s also the convenience advantage, Thorpe said, especially for passengers in places such as Orange County and the San Gabriel Valley.

“We try to have them think of about the value of time,” Thorpe said. “Is it really worth four hours on the road to save $100 on a ticket?”

On the freight side, Thorpe said the marketing is more of a business-to-business nature, which includes working with the established freight companies. When that happens, ONT is able to play to the Inland Empire’s strengths, which include the large network of warehouses and freeways that border the airport on three sides.

“That’s marketing,” he said. “You do the most you can do with the resources available, and you don’t try to be all things to all people.”

Online Edition

Ontario International Airport has always been a busy freight hub, but for at least one month it was the nation’s busiest for outbound shipments.

According to a monthly survey by FreightWaves, a trade journal that tracks the movement of goods, 4.63 percent of all goods shipped by American airports in October were loaded onto planes taking off at Ontario. In Atlanta, which had been the market leader for most of 2018, the outbound tally was 4.51 percent.

Oct 15, 2018

Classification Concern - New Jersey law on trucker classification has owner-operators on edge

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Port and trucking leaders are watching for any impact on the already stretched drayage fleet at the Port of New York and New Jersey from a new state rule that truckers say will make it more difficult for owner-operator drivers to prove they are independent businesses rather than employees.

The rule, which took effect on Sept. 17, erased an existing state rule known as the 20-factor test that the New Jersey Department of Labor formerly used to determine whether an independent contractor was truly independent, or actually so much under control of a trucking company that the company was effectively an employer and the driver an employee.

Owner-operators now have to ask the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for letter stating they are an independent operator, or provide an IRS audit that shows it, to prove their independence to obtain exemption from federal employer taxes.

Whether that change will have a significant effect on the port's fleet and its ability to handle growing cargo volume - which increased 8.2 percent in the first seven months of this year - is unclear. The number of trucekrs affected, however, is potentially large: Trucks transport about 85 percent of the port's cargo, and independent contractors operate about 85 percent of the roughly 9,000 trucks that serve the port.

Drayage capacity at New York - New Jersey and other big US ports has tightened dramatically because of a driver shortage that has plagued all of trucking for year, rising cargo volumes, and the requirement that drivers document their hours with electronic logging devices.

The Teamsers union, which pushed for the rule change, believes a large proportion of the port's owner-operators could be found o be employees under the new rule. Truckers say the impat could range from merely creating an "administrative headache" for drivers to prompting some to leave the port, and perhaps the indusstry. John Nardi, president of the New York shipping Association, which opposed the rule change, said it will be watching for impacts from the new rule, and is concerned that it will prevent the port from having robust drayage capacity.

However, the New Jersey Labor Department, which declined to comment on the rule change, depicted it in the New Jersey Register, where its enactment was reported, as a relatively minor rule adjustment that would clarify confusion over the problem of the state interpreting federal rules.

The impact of the rule may also be muted by the fact that the issue of classification mainly emerges when the New Jersey Labor Department conducts an audit of a company, a relatively infrequent occurrence.

The rule reflects a battle waged sporadically at US ports over whether owner-operator drives are independent businesses or are actually employees of drayage companies.

Tests to determine whether a worker is an independent worker, or is an employee - andwhether they are misclassified - focus on the control exerted by the contracting company over the worker. In the trucking context, that generally includes issues such as whether the driver works for more than one company, the control they have over their workflow and what jobs they take, and who bought or funded the purchase of their truck and other equipment.

Companies misclassify employees for reasons including an effort to avoid paying overtime, vacation time, and other benefits companies would be requred to pay if the drivers were classified as employees.

At a minimum, trucking leaders say the new rule presents another burden on independent operators, who are by nature small operators with few extra resources with which to handle a required application to the IRS.

"It's more a difficult path... It just makes it more difficult in an industry already suffering from a lot of other difficulties," said Gail Toth, executve director of the New Jersey Motor Truck Association, which opposes the rule change. "we've had people that submitted a request to the IRS and they never got answered...It just seems to be a maneuver to make it much more difficult for people to be independent contractors in the state of New Jersey."

At worst, the rules could push independent contractors that fail the test - and are found to be employees - out of the port, said Tom Adamski, agent for First Coast Logistics, who represents the NJMTA's intermodal council.

"It will drive people out of the business without quesstion," said Adamski, who said the port's drayage fleet has been built on the fact that New Jersey's regulations have made it relatively easy for owner-operators to exist. He suggested that drivers who face difficulty obtaining the IRS designation may opt to ply their trade in nearby ports, such as Philadelphia or Baltimore. And some truckers designated as employees may leave drayage and take a position in other sectors of the trucking industry that are more lucrative, he said.

Edisson Villacis, an independent drayage operator in the Port of New York and New Jersey who runs a Facebook page for drivers, said he doesn't believe many independent operators want to be employees because they're reluctant to give up the ability to set their own hours and workloads - reasons they got into the business in the first place.

John Vreeland, a labor attorney whose firm has handled transportation cases in New Jersey, said he believes the rule is a "pretty big change," with potentially sweeping consequenes. Truckers may be reluctant to seek the IRS designation, fearing that an adverse ruling could trigger an audit of their past tax payment practices, and may therefore face a tougher test if later confronted by the Labor Department, he said.

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Port and trucking leaders are watching for any impact on the already stretched drayage fleet at the Port of New York and New Jersey from a new state rule that truckers say will make it more difficult for owner-operator drivers to prove they are independent businesses rather than employees.

Oct 24, 2018

Ports Group Supports Senate Bill 3587

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The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) … the unified and recognized voice of America’s seaports … today voiced strong support for a bill (S.3587) introduced on Oct. 11 by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), the ranking Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee. His proposed legislation would enhance the nation’s freight systems by making key investments in ports, railways and intermodal hubs.

Specifically, S. 3587 aims to improve the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects Program, also known as INFRA, which was created as part of Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.

“The American Association of Port Authorities strongly supports Senator Carper’s legislative initiative that repeals the multimodal cap on the discretionary grant program created in the FAST Act,” said AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle. “Sustainable multimodal funding is a top AAPA priority and the association greatly appreciates the senator’s work to advance legislation that is both timely and very much needed.”

Of the $11 billion of freight funding provided in the FAST Act, only $1.13 billion is multimodal eligible, and of that, only $200 million in multimodal eligibility remains available for INFRA grants.

In an August 29, 2018 letter to Sen. Carper, Mr. Nagle wrote that AAPA appreciates the senator’s work on the FAST Act that created the first freight funding program in which ports are eligible recipients. “To build off the work in the Fast Act,” said Mr. Nagle, “AAPA believes that freight program funding should be 100 percent multimodal.” He added that since the FAST Act required states to complete state freight plans to receive additional FAST Act funding, 90 percent of states have complied. “This signals that states recognize the value of multimodal projects, and they recognize that ports are the linchpins for this activity.”

Cargo activities at America’s seaports are significant drivers of the U.S. economy, supporting more than 23 million American jobs and generating over $320 billion in annual federal, state and local taxes. All but 1 percent of the nation’s overseas trade moves through its maritime facilities, and U.S. seaport cargo activities account for more than one-quarter of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

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Sep 24, 2018

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.