California port truck drivers and warehouse workers are reaching their limits from employer mistreatment. Many work under contract and they work hard. They end up paying for their own vehicle repairs which really add up. The most frustrating part is feeling like their days have been wasted without pay. Often times they can spend eight to 10 hours just waiting for companies to get their shipments ready. During this time they are not paid.
Not only are port truck drivers in California getting their wages stolen but they are often misclassified as independent contractors. There are about 15,000 port truck drivers in the state, with the majority of them working in Los Angeles and Long Beach. Only 20 percent of those drivers are full-time employees. The remaining 80 percent work as independent contractors.
Many port truck drivers are saying that they have had enough. Contract port truck drivers have gone on strike at least 14 times over the past three years, the most recent being in October. They hope that their strikes will get the attention of federal departments for help. They want their wage violation and misclassification claims recognized.
Wage theft and misclassification are reported but nothing changes
About one out of every three federal contractors are victims of wage theft. 74 percent of federal contractors are paid less than $10 an hour and very few receive any benefits at all. When Los Angeles and Long Beach workers realize that they are being mistreated they typically submit a wage claim to California’s Department of Industrial Relations. Someone from the department will notify the employer that they should reclassify the workers and give them their wages, but then no changes happen. The cycle has gone on for decades. Many companies know that it is cheaper to pay a fine than to pay all of their employees fairly.
Fortunately wage theft and misclassification are finally getting some national notice. A new federal executive order took effect October 25th, the Fair Pay and Safe Workplace Executive Order. The act ensures that all federal contractor employers comply with workplace laws, including health and safety standards, civil rights laws, and wage laws. The new law would also track companies with repeat violations and make sure they fix the problem.
Help for hard working port truck drivers and warehouse workers
The many frustrated voices of port truck drivers and warehouse workers have been heard. The first ever national hotline for federal contract workers who experience wage theft has been established. The hotline was set up by a fair wage advocacy group called Good Jobs Nation. Workers can call 1-844-PAY-FAIR to report wage theft and Good Jobs Nation will start an investigation into the company.
It is also possible for hard working employees to get some of the money back that they have lost. Any port truck driver who has dealt with years of wage debt and misclassification can contact an attorney to seek compensation.