Port truck drivers in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach said Saturday afternoon that they have agreed to a “cooling off” period requested by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti after trucking companies targeted by the protesters agreed to allow all drivers to return to work without retaliation or requiring them to sign away all future rights.
According to Justice for Port Truck Drivers,
which is part of the Teamsters Port Division, the drivers voted unanimously to end what they were calling an "unfair labor strike" against three firms -- Green Fleet Systems, Total Transportation Services, Inc., and
Pacific 9 Transportation. The drivers said they have been misclassified as independent owner-operators instead of employees and are owed wages.
Justice for Port Truck Drivers said about 120 drivers from the three companies participated in the strike. The drivers will now "return to work on their regular shifts," the group added.
“We are grateful to L.A. Mayor Garcetti for meeting with us and hearing our concerns. We have
accepted his request for a 'cooling off,' but if the companies retaliate
against us again, we will immediately go back on strike,” warned Carlos
Martinez, a driver at TTSI.
week, with the support of my family, I walked the picket line to show
that a handful of workers really can make a difference. Never again will
we be silent and accept the harassment and indignities that our bosses
inflict on us. We will not be intimidated. We will not be silent in our
fight for our families and our dignity,” said Daniel Linares, a driver at Pacific 9 Transportation.
During the protests, which began on Monday, "striking port truck drivers showed tremendous courage and
commitment to stopping the injustices they face hauling the goods that
Americans rely on every day,” said Fred Potter, international vice president for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and director of the
Teamsters Port Division. “While the drivers wanted to continue the
strike, they agreed to a cooling off period because Mayor Garcetti
personally committed to them that he will thoroughly investigate the
serious injustices the drivers presented and take strong action as
there is no place for law breakers at the Port of Los Angeles.”
Barbara Maynard, a spokeswoman for the group, said the mayor had asked the new executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, Gene Seroka, to meet with the drivers and companies.
Dozens of drivers spoke at a meeting of the L.A. Harbor Commission at a meeting on July 10 to explain their grievances and ask for help
There was concern that some members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), who are in the midst of negotiating their own contract talks with the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), might once again honor the picket lines thrown up drivers as they did last Tuesday, before an arbitrator ruled the picket lines were not bona fide under union arbitration rules and the longshoremen returned to work within hours.
The ILWU workers have been without a contract since July 1 and a temporary extension of the contract expired Friday morning.
In another piece of good news for companies hoping to see their cargo continue to flow through the nation's busiest port complex, the ILWU and PMA jointly announced Friday they had "resumed negotiations following a three-day break during which the ILWU was engaged in an unrelated negotiation in the Pacific Northwest. We plan on negotiating into the weekend. Although there is currently no contract in place, both parties have pledged to keep cargo moving."
The PMA and ILWU are negotiating a new contract covering nearly 20,000 longshore workers at 29 West Coast ports.