As we drive the highways and byways of America, we pass countless truckers and think nothing of it. As they travel, their trailers filled to the brim with the items that we all need, they are such a common site that semis are not even noticed much any longer. Sadly, it seems that their employers did not think much of them, either.
The U.S.A. Today is reporting that “Los Angeles filed three lawsuits against some of the busiest port trucking companies in the country Monday.” It has come to be known that workers were being “exploited” in a terrible manner that only helped the truckers sink into debt while the companies acting “disgracefully” made a mint in the process.
“This abuse, this disgraceful exploitation has to stop,” declared City Attorney Mike Feuer.
Feuer alleged CMI Transportation, K&R Transportation, and California Cartage Transportation Express are said to “represent industry leaders that knowingly violate state labor laws.” This is called a “devastating practice” that increases the bottom lines for companies while the workers behind the wheel get only further lost in debt.
“We’re trying to create systemic change, and we’ll continue to investigate other companies as well,” added Feuer.
“Denying workers fair wages and benefits to pad profit margins is unacceptable,” added Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “We will not stand for it in Los Angeles.” For this reason, the lawsuit is seeking “penalties, restitution and a prohibition against practices that lead to worker exploitation.”
The trucking companies are less than happy about this. “I would question the standing or merit of this lawsuit, but that is for the courts to decide,” said Weston LaBar, the chief executive officer of the Harbor Trucking Association. He found the claims to be “one-sided.”
“This most recent effort by the city attorney does nothing more than validate that in my mind,” he also said.
While that may be his feelings on the matter, the U.S.A. Today reminds us that “more than 1,100 California port truck drivers have filed labor complaints in civil court and with the state labor commissioner since 2008.” That would imply that the drivers are not merely complaining about nothing and that real problem exists.
The industry is being hit with mandates for “cleaner rigs,” a needless cost that the government has no right to impose, yet they do anyhow. To avoid this costs, companies “pushed their independent drivers into lease-to-own contracts” that they did not understand and which is harming them greatly.
Worse yet, when “drivers got sick or fell behind on payments, trucking companies fired them, seizing their trucks and tens of thousands of dollars” that was already invested in their trucks.
This problem is so large that even Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was correct for a change when he said, “The revelations about the abuse of workers in the port trucking industry should outrage every American.”
However, it was the likes of Sanders and others who buy into the lie called “global warming” (which is not happening) which has led to this shift to “clean rigs” when the trucks that we have now worked just fine. This means that, at the end of the day, it is government overreach that once again is the root of the misery.
….just like always.