Port truck drivers on strike after alleged illegal firing of workforce

Following allegations of 20 violations of labor laws by Universal Logistics Holdings- affiliated companies, port truck drivers in southern California have gone on strike.

On April 12, an organized strike occurred outside of  ULH’s Southern Counties Express trucking yard after drivers had been illegally fired because they voted to form a union.

The National Labor Relations Board recently issued a complaint against ULH-affiliated companies, including Southern Counties Express and Universal Intermodal Services. The complaint alleges that ULH-affiliated companies violated the law by terminating unionized drivers after their union election victory in December 2019. The company allegedly fired multiple drivers in an attempt to intimidate other employees seeking to unionize. When employees at one location voted to unionize, the employer terminated the entire workforce.

The complaint also alleges the failure and refusal to bargain in good faith for a contract. The company unlawfully transferred work from the recently unionized facility to ULH/Southern Counties Express. The ULH/Southern Counties Express and ULH/Container Connection are both non-unionized, and drivers at both are also misclassified as independent contractors.

Port truck drivers gathered to demanded that ULH follow federal labor law, respect the freedom of drivers to form a union, stop misclassifying drivers as independent contractors, and reinstate the illegally fired drivers with back pay.

The Teamsters Twitter page called truck drivers to action on Monday saying “Port truck drivers are essential workers. But @Drive4Universal companies have treated them badly and illegally classified them as independent contractors. Unacceptable. It’s time to stand in solidarity with the port truck driver #strike.”

“The Teamsters refuse to stand by as Universal Logistics Holdings affiliated enterprises illegally fire unionized drivers and deliberately transfer their work to locations with drivers misclassified as independent contractors in order to keep making billions in profits off of their backs, avoiding accountability,” said International Brotherhood of Teamsters Port Division Director, Ron Herrera. “We demand justice and accountability for this lawbreaking company, and we stand in solidarity with striking drivers. Port truck drivers have been the backbone of our economy throughout the pandemic and they have kept our communities going through these hard times.”

Port truck drivers continued to strike on April 13, calling the company out again for failing to follow the law and refusing to reinstate drivers.