Over the weekend, truck drivers who work for the nation’s busiest port complex in Los Angeles and Long Beach voted to strike today.
The strike was brought on by a labor dispute that has been years in the making. Drivers sued the drayage companies for wage theft three years ago, with the ongoing dispute culminating in drivers walking off the job today. The striking truck drivers who work for the port say that they have been misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees. A Teamster spokeswoman says that this misclassification means that truck drivers are paid less than minimum wage. Teamsters say that as a result of the misclassification, a single truck driver could be shortchanged up to $60,000 per year.
Approximately 16,000 truck drivers work for the port. Drivers from 4 trucking companies are participating in the strike, but the exact number of drivers participating is still unclear.
It is also too soon to tell how the strike will affect business at the ports. Hundreds of billions of dollars worth of freight from Asia pass through the ports every year.
In response to the strike, many trucking companies say that the drivers are well paid and that the protesters are not representative of most of the drivers for the port complex. They also claim that the timing of the strike is bad, as the port is still recovering from the effects of a dockworker’s strike. The strike, they say, could put jobs at risk.