CARSON (CBSLA.com) — Port truck drivers went on strike Tuesday to improve conditions for themselves, their families and all drivers.
At 6 a.m., Pacific 9 Transportation (Pac 9) drivers displayed their intention to strike indefinitely at the company’s yard in Carson, the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach Marine Terminals.
According to drivers, Pac 9 has misclassified employees as contract workers, reduced their pay and refused to comply with the law.
“The company refuses to recognize us as employees, refuses to provide us with safe and reliable trucks, and refuses to improve our work environment,” said Pac 9 Driver Pedro Martinez. “We are going on strike again, this time indefinitely, because we are tired of the misclassification.”
Truck drivers have also filed claims for wage theft and even sued the company.
“I’m tired of the misclassification and abuse and I won’t keep paying for that truck because it’s too dangerous,” Pac 9 Driver Fariborz Rostamian added. “This has to end. We deserve respect.”
Workers declared their intent to not return to Pac 9 until they are properly classified as employees and provided safe trucks to drive, officials said.
In fact, several workers have already joined a new Teamster company.
“Pac 9 drivers have courageously withstood retaliation and mistreatment by their employer for over two years,” said Fred Potter, Teamsters Port Division Director. “These drivers refuse to back down from their fight for justice. The Teamsters Union continues to support their efforts every step of the way.”
The union reported change has become apparent in some companies such as Shippers Transport Express and Eco Flow Transportation have converted to an employee model.
Today’s protest marks the sixth time that drivers have gone on strike to challenge their status as independent contractors instead of full-time employees.