20 November 2014

[201114.EN.SEA] LA-Long Beach 'Indy' Truckers' Strike Spreads to Rail Yards

A STRIKE of Los Angeles and Long Beach harbour truckers, seeking to be recognised as employees rather than independent contractors, has spread to two more companies and now takes in rail yards, reports American Shipper.

At issue is drivers being classed "independent contractors", having to pay for the upkeep of the trucks they rent from employers, when they want to be "employees" with all the rights that go with that status.

Teamsters affiliated Justice for Port Drivers say striking drivers are targeting Pacer and Harbour Rail Transport.

"These rail yards dispatch cargo to and from warehouses and distribution centres across America. Drivers intend to follow trucks from Pacer and HRT to customer locations, including the rail yards, and picket the trucks while they are working at those locations," the Teamsters group said.

The drivers are claiming wage theft and misclassification, and are seeking to be organised by the Teamsters, reports Newark's Journal of Commerce.

They have initiated strikes against QTS Inc, LACA Express and WinWin Logistics, picketing the yards operated by those companies, as well as six container terminals in the port complex.

The strikes have not interfered with cargo handling or truck access at the LA-LB San Pedro ports, which would require longshoremen to refuse to cross the picket lines, which they have not done yet.

But relations between the dockers and their employers are tense with go-slow tactics already at play. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) has been working without a contract since July, so no grievance procedure is in place to adjudicate disputes through arbitration.

Source : HKSG, 20.11.14.

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