Photo by Sarah Bennett.

Alleging “wage theft” and unfair treatment, drivers from three Port of Long Beach/Los Angeles drayage firms will take part in a 48-hour strike.

The drivers from the three companies—Green Fleet Systems, Pacific 9, and PAM Transport—are partaking in a boycott that is nothing new: activists for years have called it employment misclassification since these truckers are classed as independent contractors by their employers. This essentially means that truckers not only have to lease their vehicles from their employment, but cover its insurance, maintenance, and fuel, while also paying massive taxes since employers are not legally required to pay taxes on independent contractors.

This results in trucking companies, according to activists, gouging the wallets of truckers illegally while making their own profits boom. One recent report by the non-partisan nonprofit Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted that the practice is now booming, bringing about “bourgeoning inequality in the country.”

“This is about restoring the diminishing middle class,” said representative Barb Maynard. “Day-to-day, these truckers make our daily lives livable: every time you step into a Home Depot or an Ikea, they made that purchase possible. And they don’t have fair pay for a hard day’s work. The majority of them live below minimum wage. The striking drivers are taking their fight to the marine container terminals at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, willing to do whatever it takes to defend their rights.”

According to Maynard, the strike began at 5AM this morning despite Phillip Sanfield of the Port of Los Angeles confirming that no strikers had appeared come 8AM.  Lee Peterson of the Port of Long Beach was unable to confirm what effect the strike will have on the Port.

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