Truckers End Los Angeles, Long Beach Port Strike

 m.kreiter@ibtimes.com
on July 12 2014 10:09 PM

Truckers will be back on the job Monday at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, ending a five-day strike that disrupted cargo flow. The truckers voted to end their work stoppage against three companies late Friday after the firms promised no retaliation and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti asked for a cooling-off period, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Garcetti issued a statement Saturday saying the Los Angeles harbor commission would investigate the truckers’ complaints during the cooling-off period.

“Following the city’s meetings with both sides, the Teamsters have agreed to pull down their pickets and enter a cooling-off period to allow the harbor commission time to investigate the serious allegations regarding worker safety, poor working conditions and unfair labor practices,” Garcetti's statement said. “Business at the port is back to normal, and the city will facilitate a dialogue among the parties in the weeks ahead.”

The drivers walked off the job last Monday in the fourth such protest this year and dockworkers refused to cross picket lines Tuesday until an arbitrator ordered them back to work.

The drivers targeted Total Transportation Services Inc., Green Fleet Systems and Pacific 9 Transportation, which have about 400 trucks serving the two ports. This constitutes about 4 percent of the number of trucks serving the facilities. The truckers say they have been unfairly classified as independent contractors rather than employees, allowing the companies to avoid labor laws and charge the drivers for fuel, maintenance and other fees, the Long Beach Press Telegram reported.

“The fact remains that our drivers are among the highest paid in the industry and an overwhelming majority do not want to be unionized,” said Alex Chernin, a spokesman for the trucking companies, who blamed the walkout on outside groups that want to unionize the drivers.

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