Teamsters, Port Truckers On Capitol Hill For Port Driver’s Bill Of Rights Legislation
By Doug Cunningham
Port truck drivers from Los Angeles, Long Beach and New Jersey took their fight for justice on the job to Capitol Hill Thursday. The truckers are mis-classified as contractors and face wage theft and other exploitation. U.S. Representatives Napolitano and Nadler are introducing two bills – the Port Drivers’ Bill of Rights Act of 2017 and the Clean Ports Act of 2017 – to end a system of forcing port truck drivers into illegal leases as contractors.
The port truckers, like Daniel Seko Uaina, says port truckers have their wages stolen, often have to wait long hours without being paid at the ports and must take on all the company overhead burden.
[Daniel Seko Uaina]: “We’re takin’ the overhead for all these trucking companies. Paying for the equipment – meaning the truck – the fuel, the lease. People even have to pay for a spot on the yard of the company with the equipment, the truck that belongs to the company!
So we’re payin’ for all the costs for these companies. And it’s on the backs of us drivers and we need to change it. We need to change it today.
And it may not even stop at the trucking industry. When is it gonna stop? And we need to stop it now!”
Teamsters Ports Division Director Fred Potter says the Mayors of Los Angeles and Long Beach need to step up to strongly protect exploited port truckers.
[Fred Potter]: “The mayors of Los Angeles and Long Beach have failed to take action. We believe that they should take a page out of the book of these representatives and stand up for these workers.
Ban the lawbreakers, protect the workers from wage and hour theft and theft of their wages.”
Teamsters Local 848 has been working with truckers for years helping them recover stolen wages and to organize on the job. Local 848 Secretary-Treasurer Eric Tate says these port workers are being treated like cattle.
[Eric Tate]: “And these are people. They’re workin’ ’em way over the hours they’re supposed to have. They’re givin’ them no money and leavin’ ’em out in the cold to provide for their families.
So we’re gonna to continue to fight this fight until we get justice for each and every one of these drivers. And as long as it takes is as long as we’ll be here.”