By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | Friday, May 01, 2015
At the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, picket signs were coming down Friday, May 1, as an indeterminate number of container truckers ended their weeklong strike against non-union trucking companies they drive for.
A spokesperson for the Teamsters – who backed the strike – said that by midday on Friday, three of the four trucking companies had given assurances that drivers could return to work without fear of retaliation.
Drivers voted to strike Saturday, April 25. The picket began Monday, April 27, and affected cargo containers bound for customers including Walmart, Costco, Toyota, General Electric, Target, Procter and Gamble and JCPenney. The labor protest was made most visible by lines of drivers picketing outside terminals.
International Brotherhood of Teamsters spokesperson Barbara Maynard said the truckers feel they made an impact.
“The drivers feel that they have been very successful,” Maynard told “Land Line Now” on Sirius XM.
“For the first time, really, when the marine terminals decided that they would close their gates to the companies on strike, the drivers felt really that their voices had been heard, and that was very empowering for them because for too long they have felt like orphans at the port.”
Truck drivers have won multiple legal victories in recent months holding up employment protections for drivers who perform largely as full-time employees at the companies they haul for.
Still unresolved is the main issue the drivers were striking over: their demand that the trucking companies classify them as employees instead of independent contractors.
According to a Justice for Port Truck Drivers news release, drivers striking against the IBT trucking company increased throughout the week, sparking traffic backups.
“I am very proud of what we have accomplished,” IBT Driver Hector Flores said, according to Justice for Port Truck Drivers. “Now we have earned the respect of the marine terminal operators and the world. We won’t back down until the boss respects us as well.”
“Land Line Now” News Anchor Reed Black contributed to this story.
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