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San Pedro Recognition Strike

Text of a leaflet issued by truckers on the San Pedro waterfront May 5, 2004 (Cinco de Mayo) calling for strike action in solidarity with the Oakland drivers and for union recognition - reprinted in the Industrial Worker, June 2004.

Last Friday the world saw the power that Troqueros have in the State of California as virtually all commercial truck traffic came to a standstill. It was just a show of force by the drivers. Oakland was the rabbit, took off first, strong. The ships came south to Los Angeles. The UPRR stopped all trains to California Saturday morning only to rescind the action on Monday. Those trains should be getting here about now as should be the ships from Oakland.

Troqueros are commonly referred to by the popular misnomer "owner-operator" in order to conceal their true identity, an em ployee; in order to deny them their labor rights including the right to collective bargaining. It gets worse. The economic employer is the motor carrier that leases the trucks from the lessor-drivers... But while inside the terminal gates all control and direction is exercised by the terminal operators.

The shipping lines are also required to have a written contract with the trucking companies which are Contract Carriers. No such contracts exist! For troqueros to initiate labor actions against the motor carriers is useless as the shipping lines easily manipulate the motor carrier community due' to the lack of contractual liability.

Troqueros have no choice but to identify the truthful employer and, especially for work done inside the terminal gates, to initiate the collective bargaining process. The shipping lines and their terminal operator's must in-. struct their labor' bargaining agent, the Pacific Maritime Association, to recognize the troqueros as their employees under the National Labor Relations Act and to initiate the collective bargaining process.

Today, Cinco de Mayo, 2004, troqueros working daily in Berth 126 in San Pedro have decided to take legaI labor action against their employer in a recognition strike.