The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

The Union’s Policies Limit the L.A. Truckers Fight

Oct 15, 2018

The main strategy of the Teamsters’ leadership is to wage a legal battle on behalf of the drivers in the L.A. and Long Beach ports. This latest walkout, for example, was limited to protests against only two companies, even though the overwhelming majority of the trucking companies use the same patterns of exploitation.

The union has pushed to pass laws against the companies’ labor practices, and such laws have been passed in recent years at federal, state and city levels. But it’s easy to see the limits of a legal battle against big companies. In more than 400 cases since 2011, the State of California has ordered trucking companies to pay drivers more than 45 million dollars, for illegally classifying the drivers as “independent contractors.” But companies have been able to avoid payments through legal maneuvers, such as declaring bankruptcy, or closing the company and opening it under another name.