Drivers win $5 million settlement from trucking companies at Port of L.A.

By Land Line staff | 7/19/2016

Nearly 400 port truck drivers will receive a piece of a $5 million settlement as part of a class-action wage and hour dispute with trucking companies at the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach.

The settlement was announced July 14 via joint press release by the Wage Justice Center and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles, two groups that worked on behalf of the drivers, many of whom are Latino and Korean-American immigrants.

More than 380 drivers sued Erick Byunghak Yoo and QTS Inc., and its related entities, including LACA Express and Win Win Logistics, alleging the company and its subsidiaries misclassified their drivers as independent contractors.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, accused the companies of illegally deducting around $1,500 from drivers’ paychecks, paying them less than the minimum wage and failing to give the workers rest breaks, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

“The settlement is the first to successfully attack this dual scheme of misclassification and corporate shell games that is endemic in the port trucking industry,” Nicole Ochi, supervising litigation attorney from Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles, said in the statement.

“Unfortunately, misclassification is the port industry norm. Nearly two-thirds of all port truck drivers nationally are misclassified as independent contractors, resulting in an impoverished, mostly immigrant, workforce. We are proud that with this settlement, hundreds of drivers will be rightfully compensated, and we hope this case sends a strong signal to other drivers that they can win if they fight back.”

The release states that “classifying the drivers as independent contractors but controlling them like employees,” allows some companies to evade taxes as well as shift operating costs to drivers, including the cost of trucks, gas, maintenance and repair, and insurance, leaving them with poverty wages.

A motions hearing for preliminary approval of the class settlement is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 12, at the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

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