LOS ANGELES — Dozens of California port truck drivers were fired just weeks after they voted to form a union.
But a federal judge ruled on Oct. 19 that their termination letters violated federal labor laws. The truckers will be reinstated and be given back pay, with interest, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
The drivers worked for Universal Intermodal, which operates several companies that transport freight containers through the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.
The group of about 30 drivers voted to join a local of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Administrative Law Judge Michael A. Rosas found in his ruling that the company was in violation of federal labor law on multiple counts, according to the Times.
He said that the company unlawfully interrogated and fired two employees leading union efforts and that once workers at the facility unionized, it slashed their hours, closed the Compton facility where many of them worked, and laid off the unionized workers in order to punish them for organizing.
The company laid off about 70 employees in total from facilities in Compton and Fontana, including workers employed by its Roadrunner and Universal Trucking subsidiaries.
Rosas said in his ruling that the company laid off these other workers to crack down on future union activity by getting rid of “all employee drivers who were or could be tainted by the union,” and then moving forward with plans to hire new “untainted employee drivers days after the layoff.”
“Judge Rosas today made clear that the Universal group of companies violated the law at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in a blatant effort to trample on employees’ fundamental right to form a union,” Ron Herrera, the Teamsters port division director, said in a statement. “We cannot allow any corporation, no matter how big, to ignore the law, especially as drivers work tirelessly to address the backlog at the ports and supply our community with the goods they need this holiday season.”
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.