Drivers

L.A. May Ban Port Companies that Misclassify Drivers

December 13, 2017

By Steven Martinez

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Photo: Port of Long Beach
Photo: Port of Long Beach

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously on Dec. 12 to investigate a ban of trucking and warehousing companies that break local, state, and federal employment laws from operating on city property.

The motion directs City Attorney Mike Feuer to submit a written report advising the City of Los Angeles on what options it has to mandate fair wages and working conditions for companies servicing the Port of Los Angeles. The report is also to determine if the city’s land use laws can be used to deny access to port property of companies that have repeatedly violated state and federal employment laws in a similar manner to how the city  responds to nuisance activities.

The motion specifically targets companies that have been accused of denying drivers fair wages, rights, and benefits by not classifying them as full employees, which groups like Justice for Port Truck Drivers characterize as driver misclassification.

In the official summary of the City Council’s motion, it makes reference to the controversial USA Today report that described the plight of certain drivers working at the Ports of L.A. and Long Beach who took home little pay and worked long hours just to pay off their truck leases.

That story has been challenged by port trucking companies and stakeholders that claim that USA Today exaggerated the extent of the problem, cherrypicking stories for their extremeness and ignoring the majority of drivers who have made the independent contractor business model work.

The City Council’s summary stated that since 2010, at least 1,150 port truck drivers have filed claims in civil court or with the labor commission against these trucking companies. It further states that judges have sided with drivers 97% of the time.

 Council Member and Committee Chair Joe Buscaino stated that it was "unacceptable for companies to profit on city property while exploiting human beings." The motion was sponsored by Council Members Buscaino, Bob Blumenfield, and Mike Bonin.

Comments

  1. 1. Shannon Crowley [ December 14, 2017 @ 05:55AM ]

    Can someone explain to me how it is that drivers at the port can be victimized? There are literally THOUSANDS of truck driving jobs available. The answer, if there is truly a problem, is to STOP driving for the awful companies operating at the ports and drive for any one of the hundreds of other CA trucking companies that are hiring. Change will happen if there's no one left to haul freight out of the ports.

  2. 2. Bubba [ December 14, 2017 @ 07:54AM ]

    Agree with Shannons comments wholeheartedly. Good grief, the Teamsters are really making inroads.

  3. 3. Dennis Sauro [ December 14, 2017 @ 08:00AM ]

    Sounds like an extension of the city's sanctuary law. They know these companies are operating illegally but they haven't done anything to stop them. They don't really care as long as the city gets their money from operating the ports.

  4. 4. Gee Grajeda [ December 15, 2017 @ 04:30AM ]

    Clean Truck Program was implemented and a success, however, the driver was forgotten, exploited, slaved, no benefits and payed.
    Constitutional and unalienable rights where violated. Port truck drivers trusted the license motor carrier and where defrauded. 1,150 truck drivers filed in court, yet haven't counted the ones that did not file.

    Clean Truck Driver Program will unify truck drives for the federal Clean Air Act law, educate port truck drivers not to be misclassified and be a respected Professional Driver on every road of America because truck drivers transport and deliver goods and services as a Professional Driver, similar to license motor carriers with Clean Truck Program yet they took advantage of the truck driver's, the ports, shippers cargo owners, and thought they where going to get away with their fradulant finance companies based in other states or have another person as the owner.
    Revoke their license motor carrier number, DOT, business license, and issue a fine.
    Give the opportunity to others to make a successful business in the trucking industry.

  5. 5. Ted [ December 15, 2017 @ 05:40AM ]

    It's not as black and white as that Shannon. The drivers that got involved with these lease purchase deals where they can get into a big truck with no money down have in some cases literally thousands of dollars in the truck their leasing and if they walk away they lose the truck and all the equity they have in it. Some cases it's not a walk away lease and in both cases 99.9% of the time they cannot move the truck to another company. Company drivers I don't know why a company driver would even have anything to do with a port driving job unless their company is paying them by the hour.

 

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