POLITICS (National, State, Local/Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach): Port truck drivers, unionization efforts: "String of actions strengthen the hand of truck drivers" ....
* Los Angeles Times: "String of actions strengthen the hand of truck drivers" - "Union officials calls the recognition that drivers are employees subject to federal labor law protections 'historic.'" - From the LAT:
A string of actions by state officials and the National Labor Relations Board has strengthened the hand of truck drivers who say they need union representation to improve pay and working conditions for the thousands who transport cargo out of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
In a settlement this week, one major trucking company agreed to post notices acknowledging the workers' right to organize — not previously a given because drivers were treated as contract workers, who are not subject to unionization. The agreement comes after repeated victories at the state Labor Commissioner's office, where 30 drivers have won decisions against 11 port trucking firms, awarding them $3.6 million in wages and penalties.
"I am ecstatic. They dug into this situation and found there is a serious problem here," said Eric Tate, chief of Teamsters Local 848, which covers the harbor area. "We are trying to protect jobs and workers who are being mistreated." Union officials called the recognition that drivers were employees subject to federal labor law protections "historic."
A spokesman for Pacific 9 Transportation, the company that agreed to settle a dispute with the Teamsters, downplayed the action. Alex Cherin noted that the Carson-based company had not admitted wrongdoing or paid any fines. Cherin, also executive director of Harbor Trucking Assn., predicted that many of the state wage rulings against other companies could be overturned on appeal. He said that all of the recent actions were part of a Teamsters plan to force the union on drivers who are mostly happy with their jobs.
The long-running dispute centers on charges by "short-haul" drivers who deliver goods to warehouses and railway depots around Southern California.............................