Truck drivers awarded $6 million in wage theft suit

A manager may also be held personally responsible for misclassifying drivers in what has been called an “unprecedented decision.”

A group of California port truck drivers were awarded a multi-million dollar settlement as part of an employment misclassification lawsuit.

This week, a group of 24 truck drivers employees by NFI Industries/California Cartage were awarded almost $6 million by the California Labor Commissioner after they were found to have been misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees, according to a report from the Long Beach Post.

Notably, the California Labor Commissioner also found that general manager at National Freight Industries/California Cartage Jim Degraw is to be held jointly liable for the employment misclassification of the truck drivers.

This move to hold Degraw personally accountable for the misclassification of the drivers who worked under him was called an “unprecedented decision” by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Teamsters say that this is the first time that individual liability provision of 2016’s California Senate Bill 588 has been applied in port trucking.

The California Labor Commission has made recent moves to cut down on wage theft against truck driver employees. Earlier this month, they posted a list of port trucking companies with unpaid wage settlements in an attempt to uphold a new California law that would hold shippers responsible for wage theft committed by trucking companies that they employ.

National Freight Industries/California Cartage is the largest trucking company at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach


Port truckers resume strikes due to alleged wage theft

Jill Dunn | November 14, 2014
Drivers picketing at a similar strike held this year at Southern California ports.

Some port truckers serving the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach began another work strike Thursday, protesting what they’ve said are retaliatory actions by their carriers and theft of wages.
Drivers for three companies, Green Fleet Systems, Total Transportation Services and Pacific 9 Transportation began the strike Nov. 13, but by the afternoon, drivers for two of the companies had agree to a cooling off period.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says he is working with the drivers and the carriers to negotiate a return to work.

The strike — the fourth this year — was again organized by the Teamsters’ Justice for Port Drivers.
Work slowed at the ports when trucks representing one of the three fleets approached, but no terminals were closed.

The two ports in Southern California serve about 15,000 trucks a day and several thousand carriers.

California Trucking Association CEO Shawn Yadon noted the strike is the second work stoppage since the International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s West Coast contract expired July 1.

Last June, a study commissioned by the National Retail Federation and National Association of Manufacturers indicated a five-day port shutdown would cost the national economy $9.4 billion and would disrupt 73,000 jobs.

The companies and the Harbor Trucking Association, a coalition of Los Angeles and Long Beach intermodal carriers, did not have immediate comment.

The American Trucking Associations is seeking hours of service waivers for port truckers at the two ports, which ATA says could help with labor negotiations.


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Trucking labor disputes: Teamsters win another FedEx victory, court orders benefits payback in misclass case

The Teamsters have scored another victory at FedEx — the labor union’s second overall win at the parcel giant and second within the last month.