California Cartage announced this week that it will shut down its warehouse at the Port of Los Angeles.
The company, which is owned by Cherry, Hill, N.J.-based NFI Industries Inc., pointed the finger at the Teamsters for its inability to renew a lease agreement for the Wilmington warehouse. Cal Cartage said the Teamsters prevented a negotiated lease despite the company’s willingness to agree to allow the employees to “once again vote on whether or not to unionize.”
The warehouse is scheduled to close in July.
“This is a very sad day for Cal Cartage, our employees, our customers and the Wilmington community,” NFI CEO Sid Brown said in a statement. “We have been fighting, with the help of our employees, for the past four months to negotiate a deal to keep this facility open long term. This is not the outcome we wanted. Because of the Teamsters’ efforts, we now have been left with no other option but to shut down the Wilmington operation.”
The Los Angeles City Council previously voted to reject a permit for the Wilmington warehouse.
“NFI should act responsibly and stop pointing fingers at the Teamsters when it’s NFI that has consistently and persistently broken the law,” Fred Potter, the Teamsters’ Port Division director, said in a statement. “If the company is unwilling to follow the law and play by the rules, and in so doing so put the port’s proprietary interests at risk, then they are wise to vacate the property to make room for a company that will follow the law.”
Twenty-four port truck drivers for Cal Cartage and California Multimodal LLC were recently awarded nearly $6 million in back wages. The decision is expected to be appealed.
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