A new bill in California would punish retailers for working with port trucking companies that have been found in violation of labor and employement laws. Photo: Port of Long Beach
California state Sen. Ricardo Lara introduced a bill that would hold major retailers liable when trucking companies break labor laws, sparked by allegations of misconduct by some port drayage companies.
The bill is another attempt to solve the ongoing “driver misclassification” issue at the twin Southern California ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Cities such as Los Angeles have been exploring ways to pressure trucking companies into compliance in the past few months, and this bill is the latest effort by state legislators.
Drivers who are considered independent contractors, rather than employees, are not afforded the same wages, benefits, and security of full employees. Several class-action lawsuits have been filed against port trucking companies to compensate drivers for what they say is due them. The idea behind the bill is to force trucking companies into compliance by hitting them in the wallet.
“Port truckers are driving the global economy and delivering for the biggest brands, but they can barely afford to buy clothes for their families,” said Sen. Lara. “These used to be good jobs, and they can be good jobs again if retailers join us in improving labor conditions here in California and putting dignity back in the driver’s seat.”
The bill, SB 1402, would make retailers liable for hiring port trucking companies with unpaid final judgements related to labor and employment law violations. Violations can include failure to pay proper wages or benefits to drivers or imposing unlawful expenses on them. It would create a list of trucking companies that failed to pay final judgements. If retailers hire any of the companies on the list to move goods in