The city of Los Angeles is considering whether it has the right to block companies from using contract truck drivers from doing business at its port in order to prevent labor and employment law violations the Daily Breeze reported. Councilmen Joe Buscaino and Bob Blumenfield are behind the motion.
The motion would compel city staff to review the conditions of leases held by trucking or warehousing companies operating at the port, then determine the feasibility of denying access to those in violation. Since 2010, more than 1,150 misclassification claims have been filed, with a 97% win rate.
Drivers and warehouse workers went on strike 15 times in the past four years over unfair practices denying contract drivers fair compensation and protections. The most recent strike occurred in June of 2017 involving several large transport firms familiar with both the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.
While some progress to clarify the ongoing struggle in truck driver classification, the dissonance still bears a cost to the ports.
A ten year veteran of United Van Lines in Missouri has sued the company, alleging underpayment and an unfair wage scale. This suit and others come at a time when the trucking industry struggles to find qualified employees, in part due to regulations, and in part due to lawsuits. However, some companies have begun hiring instead of contracting, a push-back against owner-operator model, which the city of Los Angeles is also addressing.
Whether the motion proposed at the Port of L.A. will pass is uncertain, and even if implemented could harm both the companies they drive for as well as the drivers themselves. If adopted, the penalties could range from fines to a full ban from accessing the port. In either case, financial loss is likely to have a quick impact in a business that is built on tight rate margins.