The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit granted a petition by the American Trucking Associations to expedite the filing of briefs in ATA's suit against the concession requirements in the Port of Los Angeles clean-truck program.
Harbor trucking companies across the country are following ATA's challenge to the Port of Los Angeles concession requirements which include a mandate that trucking companies begin to replace independent contractor drivers with employee drivers. The employee-driver mandate is currently enjoined pending appeal. If the employee-driver mandate is judged to be legal, the Teamsters union would find it easier to organize the drivers.
The appellate court, noting that ATA's request for an expedited hearing was unopposed, set a deadline of Dec. 28 for the filing of ATA's opening brief. The answering briefs by the port and the Natural Resources Defense Council must be filed by Jan. 31, 2011, and ATA's optional reply brief is due within 14 days of the answering brief.
By The Numbers: Containerized Ocean Trade - Southern California Ports.
ATA had asked for the expedited hearing, which moves the process forward by two months from the appellate court's originally-published schedule. The 9th Circuit on Nov. 4 turned down ATA's first request for an expedited hearing, but over the weekend the appellate court agreed to move forward at least the filing of the briefs.
ATA would like to determine as quickly as possible the legality of the Port of Los Angeles employee-driver mandate so its members in Southern California will have greater certainty in planning their business models. The port and the NRDC agreed that they would not oppose the request for an expedited hearing.
Nevertheless, it is not certain yet when oral arguments will be heard. "After briefing is complete, this case will be calendared as soon as possible," the 9th Circuit stated.
The Port of Los Angeles, like port authorities in other labor-friendly cities such as Oakland, Seattle, New York and Newark, N.J., supports the Teamsters in their effort to organize harbor truck drivers. The drivers at most ports are classified as independent contractors, who by law can not be organized. Unions are free to attempt to organize employee drivers.
-- Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at firstname.lastname@example.org.