The Breakdown

Explaining Southern California's economy

Latest strike by truckers at the port could be more disruptive

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Some truck drivers for companies that move cargo in and out of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are beginning a two-day strike Monday morning.  The drivers for shipping companies have picketed before, but this action could be far more disruptive. 

During a strike last November, the truckers picketed outside the headquarters of the companies they drive for. This time, the plan is to move the pickets to some of the ports' cargo terminals.

With as many as 20 picket lines planned, this could potentially disrupt traffic at the busiest port complex in the country, and force members of the International Longshore Workers Union to decide whether to cross a picket line to get to work.

The striking truck drivers are not members of a union. One of their main complaints is that the companies misclassify drivers as independent contractors, not as employees. They say this deprives them of steady hourly wages, benefits and the right to join a union.

In recent months, these drivers have gathered momentum as government agencies such as the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement have ruled in their favor. 

The companies have countered that the Teamsters union has tried for years to organize the drivers, with very little success.

 

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