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California port drivers, warehouse workers strike

Action targets XPO Logistics and NFI Industries operations over a wide area of Southern California.


Drayage truck drivers, warehouse workers and their supporters are participating in protests around the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and other locations in Southern California Monday aimed at ending what they say is exploitation and misclassification of workers.

The Teamster-affiliated group Justice for Port Drivers said employees or their supporters are targeting XPO Logistics and NFI Industries and its California Cartage unit, claiming drivers are misclassified as independent contractors instead of employees.

Barb Maynard, a spokeswoman for the group, said hundreds are involved in the protests, but could not give a more exact count of how many workers for the two companies or their supporters were involved. She did say the protests were larger and covered a wider number of locations than 15 prior protests in recent years. She said union members from around the country — and local “faith-based” groups — were participating.

The protests are expected to continue through Wednesday.

Maynard said XPO facilities in City of Commerce and San Diego would be targeted as well as CalCartage Warehouse, Cal Cartage Express and K&R Transportation facilities in the Port of Los Angeles. In addition, there will be pickets at local rail yards and terminals at the two ports. Also targeted are customers of CalCartage and XPO — Toyota near the Mexican border and an Amazon facility in Moreno Valley and a borax facility near Boron.

Last Wednesday the Port of Long Beach held a hearing on working conditions for drayage drivers, and its the Board of Harbor Commissioners directed staff to address drivers’ concerns and develop recommendations to improve the efficiency of trucking at the Port of Long Beach.

“Our goal is to work with our stakeholders to bring efficiencies in the system, to make it easier for truckers to do their jobs, for example by reducing turn times and broadening the use of appointments,” said Tracy Egoscue, the president of the Harbor Commission. “We understand the difficult work these drivers do on a daily basis, and how critical it is to the goods movement industry and the economy.”

During Wednesday’s hearing, a panel of trucking trade associations and terminal operators testified about the trucking system in the San Pedro Bay. A truck driver and Teamsters union representatives also testified, as well as a representative from state Sen. Ricardo Lara’s office.

Lara authored Senate Bill 1402. Signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last month, the law creates a public list of companies that commit violations of labor laws against drivers who work in ports. If retailers hire such a company, they are held jointly liable for unpaid judgments against the carriers.


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