According to multiple media outlets, demonstrators from a Teamster-supported group called Justice for Port Truck Drivers began picketing the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on April 27. In total, the labor action is believed to include seven terminals (three in LA, four in Long Beach). At the present time, there are no reports of disruption to cargo handling.
Justice for Port Truck Drivers professes to be targeting individual drayage companies in hopes of persuading them to recognize drivers as employees rather than independent contractors. According to Barb Maynard, a spokesperson for the Teamsters, individually targeted companies include Pacific 9 Transportation, Intermodal Bridge Transport, Pacer Cartage, and Harbor Rail Transport (a Pacer subsidiary). In follow up to their current protest, the group plans a march on downtown Los Angeles on April 29.
“To be clear,” commented Jon Slangerup, CEO of the Port of Long Beach, “this is not a strike...Dockworkers have reported to work and truckers have been able to enter and exit the affected terminals without delay. We do not expect that there will be any adverse impact to Port terminals or our ability to continue the outstanding progress that everyone has made in recent weeks to clear the congestion backlog and return to normal operations...Our Harbor Patrol officers and Long Beach Police are monitoring the situation and they are keeping the roadways accessible to all who want to do business at the Port.”
Weston LaBar, Executive Director of the Harbor Trucking Association, added that, “These actions do not represent the sentiments of the overwhelming majority of owner-operators serving the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach [who] prefer to remain independent contractors...they know they have a greater opportunity to make a decent income and they have greater flexibility over the hours in which they work. Becoming an owner operator means you are getting more than just keys to a truck; you are getting keys to your future and the opportunity to own your own business and live the American Dream.”
SPARX logistics will continue to monitor this situation and keep our customers apprised of the latest developments. If you have questions or concerns related to specific shipments, please feel free to contact your SPARX representative.