LA port truckers strike again over wages, alleged retaliation by carriers

This photo is from a similar strike at the Port of LA earlier this year.This photo is from a similar strike at the Port of LA earlier this year.

Some California truckers began Nov. 13 on strike against three port carriers, but by afternoon, two of the company’s drivers had agreed to a cooling off period or to meet with officials.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the Green Fleet Systems truckers had consented to a cooling-off period, but he did not provide a time frame. Garcetti said his office and the Teamsters union will work with Total Transportation Services truckers to negotiate a return to work and urged Pacific 9 Transportation strikers to do the same.

The Teamsters’ Justice for Port Drivers has organized four strikes against the companies this year. The protestors say they the companies are guilty of wage theft and that they have been retaliated against for union activity.

Two to three dozen picketers were at Long Beach’s port by mid-afternoon, said Art Wong, POLB’s assistant communications director. Work had slowed when trucks representing one the three carriers approached, but no terminals closed. The two ports are served by approximately 15,000 truckers representing a thousand trucking companies, Wong added.

California Trucking Association CEO Shawn Yadon noted the strike is the second work stoppage since the International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s West Coast contract expired July 1.

The Pacific Maritime Association, which represents terminal operators and shipping lines, has negotiated with the union since May. The contract affects 13,000 dock, clerical and foreman workers at 29 Pacific Coast ports. “Without a contract in place to quickly resolve disputes, any protests targeting port terminals will create major backups of holiday cargo,” Yadon said.

Last June, a study commissioned by the National Retail Federation and National Association of Manufacturers indicated a five-day port shutdown would cost the national economy $9.4 billion and would disrupt 73,000 jobs.

The PMA said the ILWU is orchestrating job actions in Southern California after first doing so in the Pacific Northwest. On Nov. 3, the union told the PMA it would not dispatch hundreds of qualified members for critical positions transporting containers at terminals, the association stated.