Truck drivers at the nation’s busiest ports went on strike Monday evening in protest over employer intimidation and other labor law violations. The strikers have planned 24 hours of actions at the Carson, California site of Green Fleet Systems, eight miles from the port of Long Beach.
One report put the number of drivers participating in the strike at 30. The company, which employs 90 drivers, claims just 15 walked out. The crowd of strikers and their supporters that rallied outside Green Fleet’s gates numbered about 50 according to the Los Angeles Times. After a “shift change” in picketers at 5:00 a.m. local time, the drivers plan a solidarity rally with hundreds of other workers from low-wage occupations who are also agitating for union rights and better pay, as well as faith leaders, local and national elected officials, and the Teamsters leadership from the area.
The port drivers’ allegations against Green Fleet include intimidation and union-busting. The company denies the claims, but the National Labor Relations Board found them credible enough to schedule a hearing before an administrative law judge, a key step in the board’s process for handling any Unfair Labor Practices complaint.
The port drivers are the leading edge of a series of worker actions planned around the country this week as a variety of labor organizations that have been informally advising low-wage fast food and retail worker-activists and others begin to coordinate organizing activity across industrial lines. Warehouse workers, Walmart employees, and fast food workers are planning actions over this week ahead of the Labor Day holiday weekend. Thursday afternoon, fast food workers in 50 cities plan to walk off the job.
The week of actions represents an acceleration of labor unrest that’s been building for nearly a year and drawn increasing attention throughout the summer. Walmart workers walked out on the busiest shopping day of the year last November. Low-wage worker strikes have spread to 9 cities since the spring.