Dec. 28, 2015—A port trucking firm in Carson has been ordered to turn over nearly $7 million in back pay to 38 drivers, the latest in a series of recent wins for port drivers and the Teamsters union that has been trying to organize them.
The state Labor Commissioner's Office ruled this month that the drivers at Pacific 9 Transportation were improperly treated as independent contractors rather than as employees. It ordered the company to compensate drivers for illegal paycheck deductions, back wages and legal costs, payouts that amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars for some.
Though the decision affects just a fraction of the nearly 12,000 drivers who haul cargo at the local ports, the order shows that labor organizers are having some success in using employee classification claims to push trucking firms to treat drivers as employees—who, unlike contractors, are allowed to unionize.
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