With the dedicated support from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, plus many other labor, community, and faith allies, we are fighting to change the port trucking industry so we can win justice for ourselves and our families. More than 75,000 strong, we haul our country’s imports and exports for retail companies, for manufacturers, and for the U.S. Military. We are proud to be professional truck drivers and proud of the service we provide. Without us, America would stop.
By misclassifying drivers as “independent contractors,” trucking companies have devised a scheme to increase profits by:
Illegally pushing the cost of doing business – fuel, insurance, maintenance, parking, lease payments, etc. – onto the backs of drivers;
Stealing workers’ pay by not paying us for all the hours we work; and,
Defrauding the government of taxes that help pay for our schools, roads, police, and firefighters.
These employment conditions constitute illegal “misclassification,” which we call wage theft and tax fraud, and are a violation of labor laws. We are indebted to our bosses like sharecroppers. Getting paid-by-the-load, means we toil in sweatshop-like conditions where the only way we can increase our pay is to sacrifice safety so we can pull one more container to put food on the table for our families or face retaliation from our employers. The ports have replaced the cotton fields, and the result is devastating:
Harbor and rail trucking once provided stable middle-class jobs but now contributes to the growing divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots” in America by providing poverty-level jobs;
Big rig trucks leased or owned – and operated – by drivers who can’t afford to keep them safe for themselves or others on the freeway;
Diesel trucks that spew malignant exhaust known to increase the incidence of cancer in harbor communities by as much as 80 percent (Source: Development of Emission Rates for Heavy-Duty Vehicle in the Motor Vehicle Emissions Simulator, Environmental Protection Agency, August 2009.); and
87 million Americans live in port and coastal communities that do not meet basic federal public health standards. (Source: “Protecting American Health from Global Shipping Pollution,” American Lung Association, Environmental Defense Fund, Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, National Association of Clean Air Agencies, March 2009.)