Teamsters hold food, PPE distribution for port truck drivers
(Source: International Brotherhood of Teamsters press release, May 29, 2020)
SAN PEDRO, Calif. ó Truck drivers who are struggling amid declining cargo volume and dangerous working conditions as a result of COVID-19 lined up Thursday to receive a helping hand from their fellow drivers at a food bank organized by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Trucks were loaded with boxes of food as well as masks, which many trucking companies have failed to provide their employees. The food bank was organized in partnership with the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Labor Community Services, and the Los Angeles County Food Bank.
According to a recent survey of Los Angeles port truck drivers, 82 percent of drivers say they have no paid sick days and 84 percent do not have health insurance through their job. A full 70 percent do not feel that the company they drive for is doing enough to keep them safe at work. In April, 68 percent reported less pay over the previous month as cargo at the ports have dropped and wait times have increased.
Even during a global pandemic, truck drivers at the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach continue to be illegally misclassified as independent contractors, leaving them without access to affordable health insurance, paid sick leave and other workplace protections. The Ports have the power to ensure the trucking companies are law-abiding partners, and Mayors Garcetti and Garcia can provide the Ports with that guidance. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters urges them to do so.
LONGSTANDING ILLEGAL MISCLASSIFICATION LEAVES TRUCK DRIVERS VULNERABLE
The vast majority of port drivers were already illegally misclassified as independent contractors prior to the pandemic, leaving them vulnerable to trucking companies that force drivers into debt and routinely deduct truck payments from their paychecks. Additionally, port truck drivers do not feel safe at work, as trucking companies and the ports fail to take necessary precautions, and drivers fear for their health as they are forced to choose between insurmountable medical bills or going to the doctor for a check-up. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has long stood with misclassified drivers in their fight for fairness and for the wages and rights they deserve.
Earlier this month, truck drivers who work at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach circled their trucks around the Port of Los Angeles administrative building and delivered a petition demanding greater protections amid the COVID-19 crisis. The driversí demands include: proper PPE, paid sick leave, immediate cash assistance, free COVID-19 testing, social distancing procedures, and a suspension of payment requirements related to truck loans and leases.
Full story: www.teamster.org
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
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