2014 US Trucking News – Port Truck Drivers are Underpaid
According to a report from the National Employment Law Project (NELP), a labor rights advocacy group, port truck drivers make an average of $28,700 per year, working on an average of 59 hours per week.
The US economy has always relied on moving goods. Businesses, governments and households would not be able to function if the goods that they want do not arrive at their doorsteps.
Port truck drivers haul goods from ports to warehouses, distribution centers, and rail yards so that products can get to the stores.
This amounts to $9.30 every hour, which is what an average American fast-food worker earns.
According to the report that these salaries are so low since 49,000 of the 75,000 ports scattered throughout the nation are considered as free contractors, and not workers. Labor experts have said that this classification lets their bosses escape with not paying their minimum wage, employment taxes, or benefits. This can also mean that they do not have to follow favoritism rules.
Experts have claimed that these port truckers have always been classified as workers, and not as free contractors, since trucking companies are in charge of the hours and work situations, and the work of drivers are entirely included into the main business of a trucking company.
Dennis Martinez, who has worked as a port truck driver for three years at the Port of Los Angeles and Los Feliz, says that when he started, the company assured him that he would become his own boss, but now he knows the truth. Martinez also says that his supervisors inform him on where or when he needs to go, as well as the amount that he will be paid in. However, his paycheck is reduced due to the cost of tires, fuel costs, and other maintenance bills.
Victor LaRosa, CEO of TTSI, says that there are a few free contractors who make a considerable amount of money. He also mentions that the industry of port trucking is not against employee models, but he wants to keep the decision to let drivers become free contractors.
Recently, port truck drivers, just like employees in different businesses, have vigorously fought lessening operational conditions. There have also been strikes, activism based on community, as well as the very first unionization vote thirty years after its deregulation. Aside from these paths, a huge amount of port drivers have also begun submitting complaints with state and federal government agencies, so they can have their lives improved.
It was also noted in the NELP report that there are 25,000 port truck drivers who are classified as workers, with a $35,000 salary each year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the normal pay for a tractor-trailer truck driver who does not work as a port truck driver is $38,000 a year.
The NELP also answers by trying to bring back the assurance of economic opportunity in the economy of the 21st century. In a joint venture with the local, national, and state allies, they have endorsed programs and strategies that build excellent jobs, reinforce upward mobility, implement hard non-worker rights, and give assistance to jobless workers who want to recuperate their grip in the economy through enhanced benefits and services.
The position of the working poor has now surpassed 47 million, motivated by the sharp erosion of income standards throughout the economy. The real price of the federal minimum salary over the last forty years has fallen by 30%. And it still remains far too low to continue supporting families, even after the federal increases in 2007-2009.
NELP is a key associate in this faction. They lend a hand in society coalitions and policymakers build new methods to build wage standards at the federal, state, and local trends. They also help plan new policies, build economic and legal analyses, teach the public, and if needed, give legal defense.
NELP currently supports four strategies on how to raise the salary floor. The US economy is in need of a powerful wage favor in order to save families that work in all US regions. NELP gives assistance to these allies in order to bring back the federal minimum wage to historical levels, as well as to guarantee that it will never erode again.
An increase in the rules of state minimum wage have gathered energy to build a powerful wage floor, and create other key reforms. They work across the nation to empower these state minimum wages.
Cities throughout America have also ratified their own citywide minimum wages that are bigger than both the state and minimum salaries. NELP’s employees assist them in designing and protecting these inventive local measures, which show the economic possibility of a minimum wage with higher amount for their workers who have gotten contracts or subsidies from the local government. NELP has also sustained these campaigns in cities across the country.
Meanwhile, based on the Big Rig Report, there are implications in misclassifying workers. Truck drivers, in this case as independent contractors instead of regular employees. It is emphasized in the report that these truckers work for a company with employers who set their hours and working conditions. However, these employees have classified them as non-employees, or self-employed workers so as to cut on their labor costs.
Mislabeling employees as free businesses denies them of their bedrock labor protections such as the rights to receive minimum wage, overtime pay, and a secure and favorable workplace. Employees who are unlawfully called independents are cheated of such basic workplace benefits, such as unemployment compensation where they are laid off, worker’s compensation when they suffer from injuries, and the right to join together to make an agreement for a good amount of wage and working conditions. In the case of port truck drivers some companies have reduced millions of dollars from charges in employees’ salaries, in order to pay for trucks that have remained with the company and have kept the company’s name.
For worker’s classification, it is often a forked path where two roads meet. By correctly classifying employees when that is what they actually are—They will take the right turn in that forked path. Paychecks of the workers who perform a necessary economic function, give public coffers with the resources that they owe, and take back a dangerous tilt in the economic playing field are also lifted.