Teamsters back proposed regs for port drivers

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Teamsters are standing behind two bills introduced this week in the United States designed to make jobs safer and more equitable for drivers working in major U.S. Ports. The bills, called the Clean Ports Act of 2017 and the Port Drivers' Bill of Rights, are being introduced by representatives Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.) and Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) after a USA Today report in June found clean air regulations banning older model vehicles for drivers working in ports were creating an environment of indentured servitude for drivers. Drivers were being forced to sign what the bills call exploitive truck lease or rental agreements.

Study Looks at Montreal Drayage Drivers, Communication

MONTREAL, QC - A study that is reportedly the first of its kind offers a profile of Montreal drayage drivers and examines communication technologies currently used by them and drayage trucking companies in the region. It's a collaboration between the Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table, a non-profit, regional partnership between labor, business and education/training institutions, and the Montreal Port Authority. According to the study, many drivers and employers already use smartphones to share and obtain traffic information. It also found that drivers actively using newer technology will increase and a significant percentage of drivers would prefer to use newer technologies to receive their information.

Audit Finds Vancouver Port Truckers Underpaid

VANCOUVER, BC - Truck drivers serving Port Metro Vancouver have been underpaid by container trucking companies as part of a settlement following a March 2014 strike at the port, according to an audit, while the union representing truckers is challenging a new truck licensing system at the facility. According to Office of the British Columbia Container Trucking Commissioner, six audits of fleets have been completed. It found they did not meet their obligations to pay their drivers rates retroactive to early April 2014, as required. The commissioner's office is currently evaluating what sanctions it will take against the six licensees.

Port Metro Vancouver Truckers Return to Court Over Back Pay

VANCOUVER, BC -- One labor union is asking a British Columbia judge to force Container Trucking Commissioner Andy Smith to order the payment of back wages it claims are owed by port trucking companies to container truckers at Port Metro Vancouver. In documents filed with the court on Tuesday, Unifor is alleging that Smith is in a clear conflict of interest because he is employed as both the commissioner and the lead lobbyist of the BC Maritime Employers' Association, an organization representing many commercial interests connected to Port Metro Vancouver. The truckers shut down the port for around four weeks in March 2014 over long wait times and pay, eventually leading to a settlement and ending the protests, known as the Joint Action Plan. It was signed by Premier Christy Clark, representatives for federal Minister of Transportation Lisa Raitt, and Unifor.

Canada Benefiting from U.S. Port Congestion

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congestion at U.S. ports is providing cargo interests with additional incentives to use ports in Canada and Mexico, according to a member of the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission, and that is likely benefiting Canadian truckers, at least somewhat. According to the Journal of Commerce, FMC Commissioner Richard Lidinsky talked about the issue at a recent meeting of the FMC as part of an update of a 2012 report that examined whether the U.S. harbor maintenance tax was causing diversions of cargo from U.S. ports. The tax is collected on U.S. imports to help pay for the cost of maintaining port facilities. Three years after the first report, "we have seen that shippers are not going to stop diverting cargo through Canadian ports, and that Mexican ports continue to present another option for those individual shippers looking for alternative routes," Lidinsky said.

Port Truckers Strike in Los Angeles, Long Beach

LOS ANGELES/LONG BEACH -- Intermodal truck drivers working as independent contractors for four firms serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach hit the picket lines on Monday. At issue are allegations that the carriers illegally classify the drivers as independent contractors, rather than company employees, and deny them the benefits typically paid to company workers, according to DC Velocity. Truckinginfo.com reports the drivers are claiming wage theft on part of their employers due to being misclassified. Despite being labeled independent contract workers, the drivers are driving trucks owned by the trucking companies and working exclusively for them without being able to negotiate rates, refuse loads or take work from competitors.