L.A. port truck drivers will return to work after a historic 24-hour strike ended against trucking company Green Fleet Systems. Discussions with management were tense, but now the drivers know they will be back at work tomorrow morning.
Upon hearing the news, the hundreds of supporters who turned out at company headquarters went wild with exuberant cheers.
The drivers struck to protest unfair labor practices by Green Fleet’s management, including unlawful anti-union retaliation, harassment and intimidation.
They walked back to Green Fleet, escorted by faith leaders, to discuss their return. At first they were told they had to have an appointment to talk with managers. Eventually discussions led to an agreement.
Shortly after the drivers announced that they would return to work, hundreds of their supporters rallied in front of Green Fleet’s headquarters in Carson, Calif.
The short, sudden port truck driver strike will be followed by more job actions by low-wage workers around the country. Fast-food workers in more than 30 U.S. cities are planning to walk off the job on Thursday, and it is likely more short strikes in other industries will follow.
|Port truck drivers preparing to walk back to work|
Workers are taking back Labor Day, fighting for dignity and a shot at the American dream.
In California, port drivers sent a message to Green Fleet Systems president and owner Gary Mooney that they won’t let the company or its expensive union-busters scare them from building their union. Today’s strike was a big step forward for port drivers and workers everywhere.
Though low-wage retail and fast-food workers have captured the nation’s attention, port drivers, too, are forced to work under deplorable conditions and for low wages. Sometimes they work 60 hours a week but still can’t make ends meet. Most port drivers are unjustly misclassified as “independent contractors” so trucking companies can pass business expenses on to them and avoid paying them for hours worked.
|The tense wait.|
Misclassified drivers in California are trying to win back their stolen wages by filing hundreds of claims with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. They are also continuing the fight to be fairly classified as employee drivers.
Port truck drivers who are employees are also fighting back. Port drivers for the Toll Group won their first union contract in January, winning significant improvements for their families and on the job. It was the first union contract signed by port truck drivers in 30 years. Since Green Fleet drivers joined the fight, the company retaliated against them with tactics that Region 21 of the National Labor Relations Board has alleged are violations of the federal labor law. Green Fleet drivers struck to protest these unfair labor practices.