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Misclassification issue heats up in LA, truckers continue strike

Port truckers have been striking at LA ports since July, charging they've been shorted pay and benefits due to their classification as contractors instead of employees.

Port truckers have been striking at LA ports since July, charging they’ve been shorted pay and benefits due to their classification as contractors instead of employees.

Warehouse workers joined Teamsters-organized trucker strikes already in progress at California companies following the union’s partnership with the Warehouse Workers Resource Center.

Cal Cartage warehouse workers began strike Oct. 28 as truckers with Intermodal Bridge Transport, Pacific 9 Transportation and XPO Logistics continued protest. A day earlier at Port of Los Angeles, Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa and Teamsters Vice President Fred Potter kicked off the IBT strike and announced partnership with the non-profit center, aimed at improving working conditions in the region’s logistics sector.

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The protesting truckers say they are misclassified as independent contractors instead of employees. Potter said Pac 9 and XPO Logistics drivers have been on strike since July, but IBT truckers set new ground when they began the Oct. 27 strike.

“This is the first time in American history that workers misclassified as independent contractors have simultaneously demanded their rights as employees and their right to form a union,” he said.

IBT drivers are demanding the company immediately repair unsafe trucks and ensure truck have functioning air conditioning units. They also want access to restrooms and a better break room.

On Oct. 10, Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 621 or the Motor Carrier Employer Amnesty Program. The new law provides amnesty for port trucking companies that voluntarily reclassify misclassified drivers as employees rather than independent contractors.

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