Truckers strike at LA port for workers rights

Drivers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach who have been in a long-running labour dispute with three trucking companies started what they said would be an indefinite strike on Monday.

There wasn’t much of an effect on how cargo moved around the huge port complex, which is the main entry point for hundreds of billions of dollars of trade with Asia. But a bigger problem could happen if striking truckers brought their picket lines from their employers’ offices to the dockside terminals where cranes load and unload containers from big ships.

The truckers say that the companies have stopped them from forming a union and wrongly labelled them as contractors instead of full-time employees to keep their pay and benefits as low as possible. They say that when the cost of renting and maintaining a truck is taken into account, their pay is often less than the minimum wage. They have filed lawsuits and complaints with state and federal labour agencies to try to change their status. Companies say that pay is good and that those on strike don’t speak for most drivers.

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