News

Port Workers Applaud Port of LA Decision to Lease to Toll Group

Justice for Port Truck Drivers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, May 6, 2019

PRESS CONTACTS:

Teamsters, Port Workers Applaud Port of LA Decision to Lease Former NFI/Cal Cartage Property to New Trucking & Warehouse Company; Toll Group Now in Position to Negotiate With Port to Operate on Prime Port Property

Lowe’s, Best Buy, T.J.Maxx, and Rio Tinto Mines Urged to Work with Toll at Prime Port Property

PORT OF LOS ANGELES, CA – The Port of Los Angeles has announced that the Toll Group has been selected to negotiate with the port to lease the 85-acre port-adjacent site, which includes 600,000 square feet of warehouse space and prime open land for harbor trucking operations. For more than fifty years, the site has been occupied by the California Cartage group of companies and its successor, NFI Industries, which has been the subject of litigation, regulatory action, and labor unrest due to the company’s scheme of misclassifying its drivers as independent contractors, failure to pay the minimum wage, and unsafe working conditions.

Click here for a history of recent and past legal and regulatory action NFI/California Cartage.

“The Teamsters have been supporting NFI/California Cartage drivers and warehouse workers in their fight for justice for more than five years and we will continue to support their goal to become Teamsters,” said Fred Potter, Vice President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and Director, Teamsters Port Division. “Toll has been a responsible employer for the Teamsters at the Ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach and in New Jersey and has a demonstrable track record of following the law and respecting employees’ right to bargain collectively for a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. If a majority of the workers choose to join the Teamsters Union, then we are ready to work with Toll to make this enormous investment in our nation’s supply chain a success for the company, the workers, and the Los Angeles community.”

“NFI/California Cartage has a history of abusing and misclassifying its employees to increase profits and drive down prices for customers like Lowe’s, Best Buy, T.J.Maxx, and Rio Tinto Mines. As the largest logistics company at the Ports of LA/Long Beach, this has negatively impacted NFI’s law-abiding competitors, a key issue raised by LA City Attorney Mike Feuer in his ongoing lawsuit against three NFI trucking companies for unfair business practices,” said Eric Tate, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 848, which represents more than 500 port truck drivers at the Ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach. “As the winning bidder, Toll now has the opportunity to negotiate a lease with the Port, act as a responsible employer by raising standards for workers at the site, and lead the port trucking industry into a new era in which the misclassification of truck drivers as ‘independent contractors’ is a rare criminal issue rather than the dominant business model at America’s largest port complex.”

For the last 10 years, Jesus Maldonado has driven 300 miles a day hauling borax from the Rio Tinto mine in Boron, California, to the Port of Los Angeles for NFI/California Cartage Express’ customer Rio Tinto Mining. “I went with the Teamsters to London last month to tell Rio Tinto’s Chairman that NFI is violating the company’s code of conduct and to urge them to do business with a company that respects its workers, and from what I’ve heard Toll Global Forwarding is such a company,” Maldonado said. “Working for NFI, I had no sick leave and went without pay when I needed urgent medical care. In fact, I owed money after taking time off to recover, because I have to keep paying the company for the truck whether or not I work.”

“For years, my coworkers and I have fought side by side to end the retaliation, intimidation, and worker abuse going on in the NFI Warehouse. The news that Toll will be taking over the Wilmington warehouse is good news. It shows that when workers speak up, change is possible and gives us hope that justice is on the horizon for us,” said Jeremy Hoke, California Cartage warehouse.

Background

In January 2019, after three months of operating without a valid lease, NFI Industries (formerly the California Cartage group of companies), the largest trucking and warehousing company serving America’s leading port complex, announced its intention to vacate prime property owned by the Port of Los Angeles. This decision came three months after the LA City Council unanimously revoked NFI’s lease in the wake of the seventh strike by warehouse workers and port truck drivers at the site. On Mon., Feb. 11, 2019, the Port of Los Angeles issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a new tenant for this critical site.

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