A 48-hour strike went into its second day at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach today, with contract truckers picketing as part of a Teamsters union-backed effort to get hired as full-fledged employees.
Picketers slowed operations today at five terminals by blocking traffic, port officials said. They also spread to more terminals and the trucking yards of companies targeted in the Teamsters-backed effort, according to Barb Maynard of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Port of Los Angeles spokesman Phillip Sanfield said affected terminals are "fully operational" despite "some minor traffic issues outside the gates where there are pickets."
The truckers are "demanding an end to violation of workers' rights and the pervasive and illegal misclassification as 'independent contractors," Maynard said Monday.
"The striking drivers are taking their fight to the marine container terminals at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, willing to do whatever it takes to defend their rights," Maynard said.
Green Fleet Systems, one of the companies targeted by the strike, issued a statement Monday, saying there were "literally hundreds of unfilled vacancies for company drivers throughout Southern California."
"If a driver wants to become an employee, rather than an independent contractor, he or she can do so," according to Green Fleet.
"Unfortunately, this simple fact has been lost on groups who would rather see companies go out of business than continue to provide economic opportunities for thousands of drivers and their families."
Picketers were stationed at one Long Beach container terminals and two terminals at the Port of Los Angeles.
The picketers, which includes drivers from Green Fleet Systems, Pac 9 and Total Transportation Services Inc., numbered more than a hundred Monday, according to Maynard.
Lee Peterson of the Port of Long Beach said dockworkers represented by the International and Warehouse Union honored the truckers' picket line for about an hour Monday morning before crossing it and returning to work.
A mediator determined that dockworkers could not strike in sympathy with the truckers under the terms of their union contracts.
At a noon news conference in Wilmington, truckers vowed Monday to keep up the fight.
"We will win this fight," said Doug Herrera, a truck driver at the ports for six years.
Dennis Martinez, a driver for Total Transportation Services Inc., said talks with employers broke down, leading to the walkout.
--City News Service