Truckers picket West Coast intermodal hub

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The Industrial Workers of the World recently organized an owner-operator protest over traffic tickets issued by the BNSF Railway at its Los Angeles-area facility. More than 30 owner-operators held signs Thursday, Dec. 7, outside the Hobart, Calif., site, one of the busiest intermodal facilities in North America.

Ernie Nevarez, a protest spokesman, said truck traffic had been slowed by 90 percent. BNSF spokeswoman Lena Kent differed, saying the event did not slow business and the Sheriff’s Department was directing traffic. The company is, however, evaluating its ticketing policy, Kent said.

Truckers object to unjust tickets issued for violations such as running stop signs and speeding, Nevarez said. “If you talk back, you get kicked out for life,” he said.

Truckers can be barred from the facility for no more than one calendar year, and then only after the third ticket, Kent said. “You are not banned for life,” she said. Violators must attend a class after the first ticket, and the second ticket bars them from the facility for 30 days, Kent said.

BNSF Railway, a subsidiary of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., operates one of the largest railroad networks in North America. In March, BNSF announced a $26 million expansion of parking and stacking at the Hobart facility.