After only three days of bargaining, about 100 port truck drivers employed by the trucking company Shippers Transport Express, who were reclassified as employees the first of the year and later voted to be represented by the Teamsters Union, approved a collective bargaining agreement on Sunday.
The contract covers all full time and part-time drivers employed by the Carson-California based fleet, which serves the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach.
“With so much uncertainty at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, we are grateful to have a solid contract and certain labor peace in place,” said Kevin Baddeley, general manager, Shippers Transport Express. “We believe this contract helps pave the way for the future direction of the drayage industry.
The contract includes hourly wage rates of $21, increased from $18 per hour, a more than 17% increase, and was made retroactive to Jan. 9, the date the drivers voted to become Teamster Union members.
It also includes: overtime after 40 hours per week, at the hourly rate of $30.50 per hour; full medical insurance, including vision and dental, covering individuals and their families with all premiums paid by the employer; a defined benefit pension plan; paid leave of eight paid holidays and four paid sick days; a grievance procedure or conflict resolution process; and forces the employer to show “just cause” to discipline or terminate drivers, rather than them being employed “at will.”
Prior to Jan. 1, Shippers drivers were classified as independent contractors. Last November all drivers were notified that the company was transitioning to an employee-based business model as of and were invited to apply for employee jobs. 88 out of 111 employee drivers signed union authorization cards, or 79%.
The drivers and Shippers management reached a tentative agreement on Feb. 5, 2015. The current contract is in effect until the end of 2015.
“Shippers drivers have a solid new Teamster contract because we stuck together,” said Alfonso Quezada, who was one of three Shippers drivers elected to serve on the contract bargaining committee. “Now I can take my kids to the doctor without worrying how I’m going to pay for it.”