Truckers are claiming that employers use independent contractor designation to avoid paying minimum wages and giving sick days. The situation is so bad at California's Los Angeles Port that many truckers have filed over one thousand suits for wage theft and have gone on strike at least four times. The City Council recently decided to support the movement for employee rights and is considering blocking those trucking companies that choose to use contracts instead of hiring their workers.
Last Tuesday, December 12, the council voted unanimously in support of blocking the companies. The president of the local Teamsters union called the employment practices illegal and said that over 12,000 workers are affected by the policies. Independent contractors are not offered many basic benefits and protections afforded to regular employees. Contractors are also responsible to shoulder the financial cost of maintaining trucks and keeping them up to emissions standards.
The issue has been raised before, with the Port attempting to require companies to hire their truckers as employees back in 2008. The federal court struck down this policy. The council's most recent vote directs both the district attorney and the Harbor Department to take further action.
The port truckers are simply seeking basic employee rights. They claim that trucking companies falsely use the contractors designation to avoid paying for benefits and vehicle maintenance for which they should be responsible. The California truckers may take some hope in the vote of the council, but further assistance may be required. Many individuals in similar situations with their employers have turned to an attorney for guidance on their employment issues.
Source: dailybreeze.com, "LA to consider blocking trucking companies that use independent contractors", Dec. 12, 2017