Officials with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union announced their support of truck drivers at the twin ports demanding unionization, better wages and working conditions during a news conference at the Port of Long Beach (POLB) Tuesday morning.
The gathering marked the second day of picketing by employees of Pacific 9 Transportation and XPO Logistics, who say they are misclassified as contractors and are victims of wage theft by the companies.
Employees have previously stated they have also been harassed and intimidated for filing a class action lawsuit regarding the wage thefts with the California Labor Commissioner’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.
Independent contractors with the Chinese-owned port trucking company Intermodal Bridge Transport began their first day on strike on Tuesday after delivering a petition that morning to company officials asking to be recognized as employees and to be represented by the Teamsters.
“They demanded a dignified and safe working environment; demanded that the company immediately repair all unsafe trucks and ensure every truck has a functioning Air Conditioning unit; and demanded access to a dignified break room with clean drinking water, proper restrooms, and a place where we can prepare their meals and rest during their long days at work,” said Teamsters Vice President Fred Potter of the IBT workers. This is their second strike.
Teamster General President Jim Hoffa, who heard stories from supply chain workers at the twin ports on Monday, called the working conditions “inhumane.”
“I told them 'You have the support of the 1.4 million Teamster members,'” Hoffa said. “We will bring justice to port truck drivers and warehouse workers nationwide!”
Workers from the Wilmington-based Cal Cartage warehouse—who now have the support of the Teamsters Port Division, and continued support of the Warehouse Worker Resource Center—also announced their intent to go on strike beginning Wednesday, October 28.
Cal Cartage workers also announced a demand to end wage theft, unsafe conditions and irregular schedules at the Port of Los Angeles.
“I have worked at Cal Cartage through a staffing agency for years,” said Anthony Vallecillo at the conference. “ I’m going on strike because the company is trying to intimidate workers who ask for basic health and safety, good wages and permanent jobs.”
Photos by Stephanie Rivera.