Truck Drivers Strike Again

by Jana Ritter - Published: 4/17/2014

Today, port truck drivers from Total Transportation Services are demanding the Port of Los Angeles to address what they contend are “serious hazards” in working conditions at the Carson, CA based company. Alejandro Paz, Faviel Alvarenga and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters brought the complaint to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health on Wednesday. Their alleged violations included a lack of dust control and personal protective equipment and unsanitary and inadequate restrooms and water supply in the truck yard.

Truckers strike

The complaint stated: “There is so much dust at the yard that drivers have problems breathing. “Drivers have experienced nosebleeds and other effects when in the truck yard to the point where some drivers wear dust masks to protect themselves.”

The drivers had also expressed their concerns in a petition directly to the company two weeks earlier. “It’s really bad in the TTSI truck yard where I work,” Paz said. “The portable toilets are disgusting and they rarely even give us toilet paper. I get sick from all the dust we breathe in the yard, and it is trashing the truck the company leases me, and they charge me to maintain it. I just want to work in a safe place and that is my right under Cal/OSHA.” Paz said.

They’re hoping the Teamsters involvement will help to resolve the matter as they did in November, when Green Fleet Systems drivers when they went on a 36-hour strike in front of the company’s facility in Carson and in March, when port truck drivers for Pacific 9 Transportation won a National Labor Relations Board settlement after allegations surfaced that drivers were threatened and interrogated over union organizing.

Also this week, nearly 400 concrete truck drivers walked off their jobs in Chicago after rejecting a proposed labor contract with the Northern Illinois Ready Mix and Materials Association. On Sunday, workers from four Teamsters unions rejected the proposal, which included language that would have eliminated seniority rights. Workers have been working under the expired contract and have rejected four proposals. Brian Rainville, a spokesman for the union, said the association has retracted on various terms it verbally agreed to during negotiations. As a result, this month the union filed unfair labor charges with the National Labor Relations Board.

“We have told (the association) that we want to go back to the table and negotiate a contract and that they can’t engage in aggressive bargaining and achieve a contract,” Rainville said. “We are tired of going around in circles.” 

David Mashek, president of the association, said, “It is important to (the association) that all our Chicagoland employees be treated fairly and receive an equivalent economic package for doing similar work.” He added that the association and the companies believe that the proposal is fair. “We hope the Union’s will reconsider their actions and return to work.”