Watch: The Misclassification in Port Trucking

 “I’m classified as an independent contractor, but I have very, very little control over the success or failure of my company.”

-Dutch Prior, Port Truck Driver

Part of CEH’s Safe Air, Water and Food campaign is the Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports—fighting to restore stability to our Ports’ system and improve air quality in low-income communities communities of color.  Last week, CBS did a great news segment on the issue of misclassification in ports trucking.  The video features Dutch Prior, a port driver for Shippers Transport in Oakland.  Prior discusses the issue of trucking companies cheating their employees by misclassifying them as independent contractors, thereby stripping them of their rights, ensuring that the companies do not have to cover benefits, sick days, bereavement leave time, or holiday pay.  It’s a greedy tactic that serves to pad trucking companies’ bottom line, at the cost of fair worker wages and benefits.

Worse yet, the current system of inadequate regulation and lax enforcement of environmental and labor laws have made America’s ports look like a Third World country.  The EPA estimates 87 million Americans live and work in these port regions, where federal air quality standards are violated due to high diesel soot exposure that puts them at grave risk for asthma and deadly illnesses like cancer, heart, and lung disease.

To protect families and workers, these dirty diesel rigs need to be replaced with cleaner, more efficient parts and cared for with proper maintenance.  But with trucking companies taking advantage of truck drivers by misclassifying them, the truck drivers are forced to pay out of their own pockets for the retrofits and maintenance!

It’s outrageous.

The global shipping and trucking industry must pay to clean up their dirty diesel mess!

The Clean Truck Program passed at the Port of Los Angeles, a program we’ve been advocating and fighting to pass for years, promises to transform our nation’s ports into world-class generators of good, green jobs that can help fuel our nation’s recovery.  The program rids the roads of dirty diesel rigs by making the industry, rather than the individual workers, pay the cost of fleet replacement and proper maintenance.   The Program would also expose the exploitation and poor working conditions in the trucking industry, forcing the industry to drive up standards in one of America’s most critical professions.

Watch the video on misclassification in ports trucking: