Misclassification Archive

UPDATE: Truck Drivers Who Haul Borax For Rio Tinto To Attend Rio Tinto’s AGM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, April 15, 2019

PRESS CONTACTS:

***UPDATE***

U.S.-Based Truck Drivers Who Haul Borax For Rio Tinto Attend UK Annual General Meeting, Demand Enforcement Of Company’s “Supplier Code of Conduct” In U.S. Supply Chain; Rio Tinto Chairman Publicly Agrees To Investigate and Take Action to Enforce Code of Conduct

London, England, and Port of Los Angeles, CA, USA– On Wednesday, April 10, 2019, a delegation of contract truck drivers who haul borax from the Rio Tinto mines in Boron, CA, to the Port of Los Angeles, together with Teamster leaders, attended the company’s Annual General Meeting in London, England. The drivers, who are employed by Rio Tinto’s contract drayage carrier California Cartage Express, a division of NFI Industries, attended the meeting with Teamster officials to demand an end to wage theft due to their misclassification as independent contractors (rather than employees) and enforcement of the Rio Tinto’s Supplier Code of Conduct in their U.S. supply chain.

“It took tremendous courage for the Cal Cartage Express drivers to leave their families, travel to London, and confront the global mining giant Rio Tinto. The Teamsters are proud to be supporting these men in their fight for justice at America’s largest seaport, and heartened by Chairman Simon Thompson’s willingness to listen to them and take action,” said Fred Potter, Vice President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and Director of the Teamsters Port Division. “The fact is that NFI Industries’ subsidiary California Cartage Express, which hauls borax from the Rio Tinto Boron Mine to the Port of Los Angeles, has a demonstrable track record of violating Rio Tinto’s Code of Conduct,The hard-working truck drivers who haul this heavy cargo 150 miles from Boron to the harbor have experienced wage theft due to unlawful misclassification by their employer, Cal Cartage Express as independent contractors rather than employees. The Teamsters Union is committed to making certain that Rio Tinto enforces its Supplier Code of Conduct by committing to doing business only with trucking companies that align with Rio Tinto’s values.”

“We came before Rio Tinto’s Board of Directors and shareholders to bring light to the worker exploitation taking place in the company’s supply chain and and told them why we believe that Rio Tinto must take swift action against this exploitation.” – Gustavo Villa, Port Truck Driver, Cal Cartage Express/NFI Industries.

“We’re not asking for a lot. We’re not asking to strike it rich. We’re only asking for what’s fair. We’re asking for a living wage, to be properly classified as employees. We want dignity and respect on the job. I traveled a long way to speak and I hope that by sharing my struggles the Board of Directors will open its eyes and see that injustice happening in Rio Tinto’s supply chain every day. Rio Tinto is not my employer, but they have the power to step in and stop this abuse.” – Jesus Maldonado, Port Truck Driver, Cal Cartage Express.

Rio Tinto is a global mining company headquartered in Melbourne, Australia. The Rio Tinto Boron Mine in Boron, California, is the largest borax mine in the world, producing “nearly half of the world’s supply of refined borate products.” (Source: riotinto.com). Borax, a commonly used mineral, is a component of many detergents, cosmetics, and enamel glazes. Borate compounds are used to strengthen cellphone, computer, and television LCD screens to keep them from warping under high temperature.

Rio Tinto has a Supplier Code of Conduct that requires that its vendors uphold “fundamental human rights,” including, “Ensuring all work is freely chosen; without the use of forced or compulsory labour; ensuring fair remuneration and work conditions for all workers; promoting humane treatment and preventing harassment and unfair discrimination; and respecting workers’ rights to lawfully and peacefully form or join trade unions of their choosing and to bargain collectively.”

Click here for evidence that Rio Tinto is not complying with its own Supplier Code of Conduct.

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Truck Drivers Who Haul Borax For Rio Tinto To Attend Rio Tinto’s AGM

PRESS RELEASE FOR: Wednesday, April 10, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRESS CONTACTS:

U.S.-Based Truck Drivers Who Haul Borax For Rio Tinto and Teamsters To Attend Rio Tinto’s Annual General Meeting To Demand Enforcement Of Company’s “Supplier Code Of Conduct” In U.S. Supply Chain

London, England, and Port of Los Angeles, CA, USA – On April 4, 2019, a delegation of contract truck drivers who haul borax from the Rio Tinto mines in Boron, CA, to the Port of Los Angeles, together with Teamster leaders and community and faith-based allies, went to Rio Tinto’s Port of Los Angeles-adjacent facility to advise Rio Tinto that a number of the drivers will be attending its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in London, England. (Click here to watch video of delegation). The drivers, who are employed by Rio Tinto’s contract drayage carrier California Cartage Express, a division of NFI Industries, are attending the meeting with Teamster officials to demand an end to wage theft due to their misclassification as independent contractors (rather than employees) and enforcement of the Rio Tinto’s Supplier Code of Conduct in their U.S. supply chain.

WHO:                  California (‘Cal’) Cartage Express port truck drivers, Teamster officials

WHAT:                 Annual General Meeting for Rio Tinto PLC

WHERE:               The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, London SW1P 3EE

WHEN:                 Wednesday, April 10, 2019, starting at 11:00 am (GMT+1)

LIVE WEBCAST:  Rio Tinto will be providing a webcast of the meeting at riotinto.com/webcast

Rio Tinto is a global mining company headquartered in Melbourne, Australia. The Rio Tinto Boron Mine in Boron, California, is the largest borax mine in the world, producing “nearly half of the world’s supply of refined borate products.” (Source: riotinto.com). Borax, a commonly used mineral, is a component of many detergents, cosmetics, and enamel glazes. Borate compounds are used to strengthen cellphone, computer, and television LCD screens to keep them from warping under high temperature.

Rio Tinto has a Supplier Code of Conduct that requires that its vendors uphold “fundamental human rights,” including, “Ensuring all work is freely chosen; without the use of forced or compulsory labour; ensuring fair remuneration and work conditions for all workers; promoting humane treatment and preventing harassment and unfair discrimination; and respecting workers’ rights to lawfully and peacefully form or join trade unions of their choosing and to bargain collectively.”

Click here for evidence that Rio Tinto is not complying with its own Supplier Code of Conduct.

“NFI Industries’ subsidiary California Cartage Express, which hauls borax from the Rio Tinto Boron Mine to the Port of Los Angeles, has a demonstrable track record of violating Rio Tinto’s Code of Conduct,” said Fred Potter, Vice President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and Director of the Teamsters Port Division. “The hard-working truck drivers who haul this heavy cargo 150 miles from Boron to the harbor have experienced wage theft due to unlawful misclassification by their employer, Cal Cartage Express as independent contractors rather than employees. The Teamsters Union is committed to making certain that Rio Tinto enforces its Supplier Code of Conduct by committing to doing business only with trucking companies that align with Rio Tinto’s values.”

“The California Labor Commissioner has ruled that Cal CartageExpress has broken the law* by misclassifying us as independent contractors, ruling that Cal Cartage  owes me and 13 of my co-workers $4 million.” – Gustavo Villa, Port Truck Driver, Cal Cartage Express/NFI Industries.

“I am traveling to Rio Tinto’s shareholder meeting in London and I will be speaking on behalf of my coworkers at NFI’s Cal Cartage Express to demand that Rio Tinto enforce its Supplier Code of Conduct and stop doing business with NFI.” – Jesus Maldonado, Port Truck Driver, Cal Cartage Express.

* California Cartage Express has appealed the decision.

 

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US Supreme Court Declines to Hear California Trucking Association Appeal

Justice for Port Drivers

PRESS RELEASE FOR: Wednesday, March 20, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRESS CONTACTS:

US Supreme Court Declines to Hear California Trucking Association Appeal, Validating CA Labor Commissioner Decisions Regarding Port Truck Driver Misclassification

Port Drivers, Teamsters Applaud Development Protecting Drivers

PORT OF LOS ANGELES/LONG BEACH – On March 18, the United States Supreme Court decisively rejected an appeal to the case of the California Trucking Association v. [California Labor Commission] Julie A. Su, whose office has consistently ruled that port truck drivers are misclassified as independent contractors.

“In rejecting the CTA’s appeal, the highest court in the land has effectively closed the case on predatory trucking companies’ efforts to dodge taxes and steal the hard-earned wages of drivers through a scheme that illegally classifies drivers as independent contractors,” said Fred Potter, Vice President at Large, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and Director of the Teamsters Port Division.

Click here for a summary of regulatory action and litigation in the port trucking industry.

“Over the past four years, the California Labor Commissioner has ruled 36 separate times that my co-workers and I at NFI Industries are misclassified as independent contractors, awarding us $7.3 million in stolen wages. Most of these cases – including mine – are still under appeal by NFI. Now that the Supreme Court has rejected the industry’s appeals, I hope that I can finally be properly classified as an employee so that I can be paid for all my hours worked, have decent health insurance for my family, and have the protections properly classified employees are entitled to like disability and workers’ compensation,” said Gustavo Villa, port truck driver, NFI Industries/Cal Cartage Express.

Click here for a summary of regulatory action and litigation at NFI Industries port trucking and warehousing operations at America’s largest port complex.

Supreme Court Rules Port Truck Drivers Cannot Be Forced to Waive Rights Through Private Arbitration

Justice for Port Truck Drivers

PRESS ADVISORY: Tuesday, January 15, 2019

PRESS CONTACTS:  Barb Maynard and Kara Deniz,  [email protected]

BREAKING NEWS

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Port Truck Drivers Cannot Be Forced to Waive Their Rights Through Private Arbitration Agreements

PORT OF LOS ANGELES/LONG BEACH, CA – Today, the United States Supreme Court in the case NEW PRIME INC. v. OLIVEIRA ruled that workers in the transportation industry cannot be forced to waive their rights through private arbitration agreements. Click here to read the ruling.

“This is a great victory for all workers in the transportation industry, including employees, legitimate independent contractors, and drivers misclassified as independent contractors who are suffering egregious wage theft. Although we have consistently challenged employers’ attempts to compel private arbitration to avoid a public legal battle, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling makes it clear that employers cannot and should not require drivers to waive their right to their day in court through binding arbitration agreements,” said Fred Potter, Vice President-at Large, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and Director of the Teamsters Port Division.

Click here for background on port truck drivers’ fight for justice at America’s largest seaport.

Justice for Port Drivers: With the dedicated support from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, plus many other labor, community, and faith allies, we are fighting to change the port trucking industry so we can win justice for ourselves and our families. More than 75,000 strong, we haul our country’s imports and exports for retail companies, for manufacturers, and for the U.S. Military. We are proud to be professional truck drivers and proud of the service we provide. Without us, America would stop.

Social Media Links

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Justice for Port Drivers Stands With Northwest Port Truckers Who Refuse to Bear the Cost of New Environmental Regulations

***PRESS RELEASE***

Justice for Port Truck Drivers

www.JusticeforPortDrivers.org

PRESS RELEASE: Thursday, January 25, 2017

PRESS CONTACT: Barb Maynard, (323) 351-9321; [email protected]

Justice for Port Drivers Stands With Northwest Port Truckers Who Refuse to Bear the Cost of New Environmental Regulations

WASHINGTON, DC – For too long port trucking companies, shippers, and retailers have raked in record profits off the back of America’s port drivers, whom the USA Today Network has aptly called “modern day indentured servants.” Treated like employees but illegally paid as “independent contractors,” the drivers’ outdated trucks that are used to haul America’s imports – many with millions of miles on them, which the Los Angeles Times has calculated “are the equivalent of about six round trips to the moon” – spew toxic fumes into local communities.

It’s no surprise that the communities adjacent to the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma have demanded a Clean Truck Program to rid the Puget Sound communities of dirty diesel trucks, and though we applaud The Northwest Seaport Alliance for adopting a Clean Truck Program, we urge them to immediately amend the program to demand that the shippers – the big retailers like Walmart, Target, and Home Depot – pay for the new trucks, not the drivers who have not ability to increase rates to cover the cost of the new regulations.

“We stand with the Puget Sound community, which has demanded clean air, but the truck drivers serving the ports of Seattle and Tacoma should not be forced to choose between good jobs and clean air – we all deserve both. The Northwest ports of Seattle and Tacoma must take responsibility for cleaning up this toxic waste dump. The ports have the power to require the powerful shippers that own the cargo – like Target, Home Depot, and Boeing – to pay drayage rates that cover the cost of purchasing new, clean equipment instead of sticking it to the drivers,” said Fred Potter, Teamsters International Vice President and Director of the Teamsters Port Division.

With the dedicated support from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, plus many other labor, community, and faith allies, Justice for Port Drivers is fighting to change the port trucking industry so drivers and their families can win justice.  More than 75,000 strong, America’s port drivers haul our country’s imports and exports for retail companies, for manufacturers, and for the U.S. Military. We are proud to be professional truck drivers and proud of the service we provide. Without us, America would stop. Read more

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Tracy Ellis – Working Class Hero, Supermom, Shop Steward, and Union Driver

I am a proud mom to 3 older children. My baby boy is 18 years old and studying to become a nurse at Cerritos College. My 19 year old was born with Cerebral Palsy. My 30 year old is studying to get her Real Estate License.
My youngest 2 live with my stepmom right now. We live humbly, we rent a 1 bedroom back house. It’s super small and we don’t have a kitchen, but luckily I became a master at cooking with crockpots and hot plates when I used to drive long distances over-the-road.

I’ve been working at Shippers Transport Express for nearly 3 years. I’ve been a port driver since 2001, and was an over-the-road driver for a while. I then became homeless for a while due to identity theft. We were living out of hotels, which quickly traps you as it becomes way more expensive than living at home. I started working at a port trucking company that misclassified me as an independent contractor. I was required to lease a new truck from the company under the Clean Truck program. One day, I got into my “clean truck” right after it had just been to maintenance. They had left fiberglass pieces in the air ducts, and the moment the air came on the fiberglass shards blasted into my lungs. I rushed to Saint Mary’s with an asthma attack, but then became allergic to the steroid and had to be admitted to ICU. It quickly derailed. My pancreas failed and I became a full-blown diabetic. No medication could help, but even worse – I had no health insurance, and now also no job.

I owed $3,000 on the lease of my brand new clean truck, but I couldn’t pay it without working, and I wasn’t well enough to return to work. I lost my truck. I lost my car. I lost my home. I couldn’t afford these expenses as well as my medical expenses. Once again, I was homeless. It broke me.

I was still homeless when I started working at Shippers, but thankfully having a stable union job helped pull me out of it. I now finally have fair pay, paid time off, sick leave, and vacation time to enjoy with my family. Shippers even has a fleet of mechanics available to repair anything that could break down on my truck immediately. At my previous company, they made me pay for every repair and maintenance cost!

I soon realized that a union contract was a great equalizer. As a woman of color, I was guaranteed equal pay and treatment to my male counterparts, and had an opportunity to become a leader and help my coworkers. Last summer, I was elected Shop Steward.

Being a Shop Steward isn’t easy. It can be a double edged sword, but I consider myself a unity coordinator. As a woman I can navigate different genders and ethnic group more easily than most men. As a woman of color, I have even more opportunity to unify my coworkers.

I hope to push us all forward in a positive direction, as a unified workforce and supply chain. Without unity, nothing can move forward or change at the ports.