Port truckers misclassified as contractors awarded nearly $1.3 million in lost wages

Ten truck drivers who haul cargo on the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have been awarded nearly $1.3 million by the California Labor Commissioner for lost wages ensuing from being misclassified as unbiased contractors.

The April 10 alternative from the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement orders Okay&R Transportation to pay the drivers for unpaid wages, unpaid meal and leisure breaks, and illegal paycheck deductions based mostly totally on claims filed in 2017.

Okay&R, a division of California Cartage which was acquired by National Freight Industries in 2017, has until April 25 to each attraction or pay the drivers the portions owed. If it fails to do each, the selection will grow to be remaining. And if remaining judgments go unpaid, Okay&R’s prospects could very properly be held accountable for future claims beneath California’s new joint obligation laws, Senate Bill 1402.

The frequent payout

The drivers, who haul gadgets for Best Buy, Puma, and Lowe’s, will acquire numerous awards. The highest explicit individual payout is $243,578.33 whereas the standard is $128,562.90.

“We’re happy that the California Labor Commissioner has recognized the injustices we’ve experienced at the hands of K&R Transportation,” driver Hector Zelaya talked about in an announcement. “They’ve taken advantage of us for far too long and it will not stand.”

In an announcement launched late Wednesday, NFI talked about the alleged violations happened earlier to NFI’s acquisition of California Cartage and “were not issued against NFI or its Cal Cartage operations.”

Based in Wilmington, NFI is no doubt one of many largest gadgets movers in America, with warehouses and port trucking operations all through the U.S. The NFI/Cartage family of corporations incorporates 5 foremost trucking operations at Southern California’s twin ports.

Eric Tate, secretary/treasurer and principal officer with Teamsters Local 848, which represents larger than 500 port truck drivers who’ve grow to be unionized staff, doesn’t rely on Okay&R to willingly pay up. NFI/California Cartage, he talked about, doesn’t work that strategy.

“Every company they own that does business out of the ports operates the same way,” he talked about. “Even after they pay off lawsuits they continue to break the law.”

A historic previous of labor factors

In September 2018, California Cartage was ordered to pay $3.57 million to larger than 1,400 staff after a U.S. Department of Labor investigation revealed it had didn’t pay its staff an excellent wage.

In newest years, there have been seven labor strikes among the many many agency’s staff, and in November 2018, six trucker drivers for the company filed minimum-wage violation claims.

Teamsters Local 848 has been attempting to unionize the company’s warehouse and trucking workers, a push that lastly prompted California Cartage to announce it will shut its Wilmington warehouse in July. As of January, the flexibility employed about 800 of us.

The agency talked about it had been ready to allow workers to vote on whether or not or to not unionize and was involved in lease negotiations with L.A.’s Harbor Commission for months. But the Los Angeles City Council unanimously revoked its lease on the web site in October and ordered the Harbor Commission to include provisions in the long term lease which may cease labor disruptions

Sid Brown, NFI’s CEO, laid blame on the Teamsters.

“We have been fighting, with the help of our employees, for the past four months to negotiate a deal to keep this facility open long-term,” Brown talked about in January. “This is not the outcome we wanted. Because of the Teamsters’ efforts, we now have been left with no other option but to shut down the Wilmington operation.”

In its assertion, NFI talked about the wage awards are “a continuing part of the Teamsters ongoing effort to force the thousands of hard-working port drivers to become employees against their will, instead of the entrepreneurial businessmen and women they have chosen to be.”

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