JUNE 19, 2017
Every day Jose Herrera picks up his Kenworth T600 truck from a rented lot in Moreno Valley, Calif., and fights traffic on the 60 Freeway to the office of his employer, XPO Logistics, 70 miles away in Commerce.
The commute puts wear and tear on the vehicle, leads to pricey fuel bills and accelerates the maintenance schedule. But Herrera doesn’t have a choice. XPO, one of the largest shipping companies in the world, doesn’t allow drivers who own their trucks to park overnight at that location, he said.
“You have to spend more money to keep the truck going,” Herrera said.
Herrera was one of about a dozen drivers on a picket line in front of the XPO office Monday. The strike involves more than 150 drivers at XPO’s Commerce location, said Santos Castaneda, an organizer with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which is lending support. Drivers also struck at XPO locations in nearby Rancho Dominguez and farther south in San Diego.
It’s the latest effort from drivers to put pressure on shipping companies in the ongoing nationwide dispute over driver claims that they are misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees of the company. Monday’s strike is the 15th at Los Angeles ports in the last four years.
“There has been no impact to customers,” said Erin Kurtz, a spokesperson for XPO.
“We know firsthand that the majority of owner-operators prefer to work as independent contractors, and we will continue to advocate for their right to do so,” XPO said in a statement.
Truckers have filed more than 800 employee misclassification wage claims since 2011 and have been awarded about $40 million over 300 cases, according to the California Labor Commissioner’s office. About 200 cases are still pending, according to the state agency.