File photo, courtesy Port of Long Beach.
UPDATE | The last of the striking Long Beach and Los Angeles port truck drivers ended their picketing today with employees of Pacific 9 Transportation (Pac 9) returning to work.
A release issued by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters said that all of the picketing Pac 9 truck drivers, the last to remain on strike, returned to work Friday afternoon to continue to pay their bills.
“We have millions of dollars in claims for wage theft against the company and we refuse to give up our fight,” Byron Contreras, a driver leader at Pac 9 said in a statement. “But we need to feed our families, and while we’ve been on strike, the company has continued to charge us to use their trucks, to park their trucks in their yard, and to insure their trucks.”
According to the release, Pac 9 is currently facing two class actions lawsuits for alleged wage theft and illegal misclassification of its drivers.
Pac 9 drivers last went on strike in November of 2014.
“We will be back with more actions and strikes until we win,” Contreras said.
PREVIOUSLY:Port Truck Drivers at Three Shipping Companies Return to Work
5/1/15 1:06PM | The striking Los Angeles and Long Beach port truck drivers resumed normal work schedules Friday at three of the four shipping companies they have been picketing, a release from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters said today.
On strike since Monday, the port truck drivers had been picketing over the shipping companies’ alleged wage theft and employee misclassification.
Fred Potter, the director of the Teamsters Port Division, said he considered the strike to have been largely successful.
“It is unfortunate that the ports must suffer delays because unscrupulous companies continue to violate the law and misclassify their drivers,” he said. “During the strike, we had an opportunity to talk to thousands of drivers on the long lines at marine terminals who are eager to join the struggle, and unless companies respect the law and properly classify their drivers, more and larger strikes are to be expected.”
The strike started at the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports, in company yards and marine terminals, and spread to Union Pacific’s Los Angeles Transportation Center (LATC). Union members also picketed specific locations at the U.S./Mexico border in efforts to delay the transportation of cargo to Toyota’s Mexican manufacturing plants.
On Tuesday, Port of Long Beach (POLB) Director of Communications Michael Gold said the strike had a minimal effect on day-to-day port operations and shipping speed. He noted that a small percentage of truck drivers were picketing out of the thousands that had continued a normal work schedule.
“There are quite a few companies, and not a large percentage of [total] company workers are picketing,” Gold said. “Quite a few aren’t associated with the Teamsters.”
Drivers returned to work at Intermodal Bridge Transport (IBT), Pacer Cartage, and Harbor Rail Transport (HRT). Drivers at Pacific 9 Transportation (Pac 9) remain on strike.