The California Labor Commissioner has posted a list of 31 port trucking companies that have committed wage theft against their employees and failed to come into compliance or pay wages owed.
The list is part of a bill signed last year by outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown aimed at deterring mistreatment of truckers, particularly those who haul drayage. The bill was passed with the support of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, and took effect Jan. 1.
Retailers and other business that hire port trucking companies with unsatisfied final court judgments, tax liens or assessments are jointly and severally liable for future labor and employment law violations committed by the companies.
“Companies are on notice that if they contract with a known wage thief, they will be held responsible for the exploitation of the drivers who carry their goods,” Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su said in a news release issued Wednesday. “This new law incentivizes trucking companies to pay up on judgments and put earned wages into drivers’ pockets.”
The list can be viewed online via the California Department of Industrial Relations website.
The release notes that businesses on the list were given at least 15 business days’ advance notice before the list was posted. The Labor Commissioner’s office plans to update the list at least once a month and will remove companies from the list within 15 days after receiving confirmation of payment of monies owed, or an approved settlement agreement.
The new law requires joint and several liability for customers who contract with port drayage carriers who have unsatisfied judgments regarding unpaid wages, damages, expenses, penalties, and workers’ compensation liability.
The new rule includes a 90-day grace period from the time a carrier is included on the list. The grace period gives retailers time to cancel contracts before joint liability begins.
OOIDA supported the new law when it was introduced by Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, last year.
The Association has more than 160,000 members nationwide, including about 5,380 residing in California and thousands more that operate on the state’s highways and ports each day.
Mike Matousek, OOIDA’s manager of government affairs, has said many of California’s port drayage drivers are mistreated. He cites the long hours drivers work in “awful conditions” while being “utterly undercompensated.”
Matousek added that the workers are also often misclassified through “lease-purchase” agreements. He described the agreements as “schemes where motor carriers lease a truck to a driver with the promise of fair compensation, future ownership of the truck, and ‘independence’ from traditional employer-employee requirements.”
“In reality, these indentured servants are paid pennies on the dollar, will likely never own the truck, and have zero independence.”
He said the new law addresses concerns about lease-purchase agreements without jeopardizing legitimate business agreements between motor carriers and leased owner-operators.
State Legislative Editor Keith Goble contributed to this report.
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