More than 100 drivers who haul goods from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and their supporters protested three Harbor Area trucking companies Monday, calling for the firms to improve working and wage conditions for truckers and to stop retaliating against drivers who want to unionize. At the center of the grievance is the misclassification of drivers as independent contractors instead of employees, a practice they said allows the companies to skirt labor laws and avoid paying them fair wages.
Protesters gathered at the Wilmington Waterfront Park on Monday, calling the demonstration a success. The strike left some 400 truckers unable to drive to the ports because they were reportedly told not to come to the terminals for fear that the International Long shore and Warehouse Union would have to honor the picket line. Complicating matters is long shore workers, who have been working without a contract since their six-year agreement with the association representing shipping lines and West Coast port terminal operators expired July 1. The contract covers nearly 20,000 long shore workers at 29 West Coast ports. If long shore workers walked off the job, it would cause a significant disruption in the goods movement chain. Contract negotiations are ongoing.