Harbor truck drivers returned to their jobs late Tuesday after a 24-hour strike at the Green Fleet Systems warehouse in Southern California. The drivers, who were supported by the Teamsters union, said they were protesting the company’s attempts to prevent them from organizing.
Randy Cammack, president of Teamsters Joint Council 42 and secretary-treasurer of Local 63, told the rally that Green Fleet was using “intimidation tactics” in attempting to make it more difficult for the drivers to join a union.
Unlike the vast majority of harbor trucking companies in Southern California, Green Fleet uses employee drivers. Most of the drayage companies serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach contract with owner-operators. Independent contractors, by law, can not join a union.
The Teamsters said that if the drivers are unionized, they will earn higher wages and have better benefits. Green Fleet said its employee drivers are paid by the task, and the average driver wage over the past eight weeks was $19.27 an hour.
Last year the Teamsters organized the drivers at Toll Group in Southern California. Toll, like Green Fleet, uses employee drivers, so there was no legal prohibition against the organizing effort. The Teamsters earlier this year negotiated a contract with Toll that increased their wages by $6 to $19 an hour.