POLB, POLA Truck Drivers Agree to First Union Contract, Collective Bargaining Agreement

Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach truck drivers employed by Carson-based Shippers Transport Express (STE) voted on Sunday to approve their first union contract, a one-year agreement that will cover all full- and part-time STE-employed drivers, one month after their reclassification from independent contractors to employees.

According to the release, the contract includes an hourly wage of $21 made retroactive to January 9, 2015, when the drivers voted to become Teamsters, an increase from the $18 they were paid before the contract was agreed upon. Drivers will be paid overtime after 40 hours per week at an hourly rate of $30.50 per hour and will gain full medical insurance, including vision and dental for themselves and their families.

Drivers will also be entitled to retirement security, paid leave of up to eight holidays and four paid sick days, and will have a grievance procedure or conflict resolution process to use if and when such a need arises. Lastly, the contract states that the employer will need “just cause” to discipline or terminate drivers, while drivers are no longer employed “at will.”

“Shippers drivers have a solid new Teamster contract because we stuck together,” said Alfonso Quezada, one of the three Shippers drivers who served on the contract bargaining committee, in a statement. “Now I can take my kids to the doctor without worrying how I’m going to pay for it.”

“All port drivers deserve what we have earned – respect and a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work,” said Shippers driver Mike Acosta in a statement. “We are going to keep fighting to make sure that happens.”

“With this union contract, we can move forward and make Shippers the most productive trucking company hauling out of the harbor,” said Shippers driver Leonardo Mejia in a statement.

“Teamsters Local 848 is proud to represent Shippers drivers and looks forward to a productive relationship with the company in the years to come,” said Eric Tate, Secretary-Treasurer of Long Beach-based Teamsters Local 848, in a statement. “The drivers’ strong voice at the bargaining table through their elected driver-leaders, and their solidarity as a unit, allowed for a rapid conclusion to contract negotiations – and a precedent-setting union contract.”

“With so much uncertainty at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, we are grateful to have a solid contract – and certain labor peace – in place,” said Kevin Baddeley, General Manager, Shippers Transport Express, in a statement. “We believe this contract helps pave the way for the future direction of the drayage industry. And Shippers is hiring, so spread the word.”

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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.