Seattle Container Drivers Strike American President Lines

October 21, 1999

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At 6 a.m. yesterday, owner-operator truckers who haul containers at the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma, WA, struck American President Lines, a steamship company operating at Terminal 5 in Seattle.

Most freight movement at Terminal 5 was halted, according to Seattle Union Now, a cooperative effort of the AFL-CIO and Teamsters working to organize the port truckers. "Terminal operators struggled to move the few trucks in line through the pickets," says a press release from the group. "Picketers talked to truck drivers who stopped before the gate, turning many away."
Drivers sent American President Line representatives a letter asking the company to consider hiring or contracting with drivers directly, rather than through freight companies.
The one-day strike was called to call attention to the steamship lines, which are a major source of power at the port, according to the organizers. It is part of an ongoing campaign that started with a late August job action. Drivers want union representation, fair pay, benefits and safe working conditions.
Port owner-operators are paid by the load, not by the mile or the hour. Labor organizers say it averages out to about $8.50 per hour.
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