Protest Organizers Targeting More Companies in California Port Strike
U.S. WEST COAST – As the port truck driver strike at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach continues to intensify, protest organizers have targeted three more companies that they accuse of wage theft.
According to the Los Angeles Times, drivers from QTS Inc., LACA Express and WinWin Logistics Inc. joined the strike Monday morning. Barb Maynard, a spokeswoman for the Teamsters Union told the Times that she did not know how many drivers walked off of the job.
As we previously reported, LA truck workers affiliated with Total Transportation Services Inc. and Pacific 9 Transportation walked off the job on Thursday, November 13th. Those drivers are still on strike, but agreed not to picket as talks are underway, according to the Times.
This is the second such action these truck workers have taken, according to the LA Times. The last strike, which occurred in July, was temporarily called off after LA Mayor Eric Garcetti requested a “cooling-off” period. Alleged “retaliation” by the trucking companies has since reignited the strike, with drivers organizing picket lines at company yards in Compton and Carson, according to Barb Maynard, a Spokeswoman for the Teamsters Union. The Teamsters have reported that they will be supporting the strikers during this action.
The dockworkers have currently been without a contract since July, while management and the union have thrown public accusations at each other.
Aside from Los Angeles and Long Beach, other West Coast ports are struggling with these labor agreements. JOC.com reports negotiations to produce a new West Coast longshore labor agreement have gone off the rails at Seattle and Tacoma, both major ports for Washington apples.
JOC.com quotes Rebecca Lyons, International Marketing Director for the Washington Apple Commission, as saying, “We are hearing of containers stuck on the docks waiting to be loaded, and inability to obtain containers to load during this critical export season. Many of our markets in Latin America depend on Washington apples for their Christmas season, and without the ability to get them there, those sales will be lost. We know of at least one retailer in Latin America who is waiting on 50 percent of their Christmas shipments for Washington apples alone.”
Last week, United States Senators from California, Oregon and Washington urged leaders from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILUW) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) to continue working together toward a fair and amicable settlement.
In a letter sent to ILWU President Robert McEllrath and PMA President and CEO James C. McKenna, U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said, “This collective bargaining agreement is important for the health, safety and economic well-being of the 13,600 longshore, clerk, and foreman workers at 29 ports from California to Washington, as well as for companies large and small, agriculture producers, ports and international buyers around the world. We strongly urge both the PMA and the ILWU to continue negotiating in good faith to resolve the remaining issues and to swiftly move toward a final contract agreeable to both parties.”
Stay tuned to AndNowUKnow as we continue to follow any updates as negotiations continue.