By Andrew Khouri, July 8, 2014
Four terminals at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach briefly
closed Tuesday morning after dockworkers honored the picket lines of
striking truckers, officials said.
The terminals, however, were up
and running by 11 a.m. after an arbitrator ruled that the dockworkers
must return to work, spokesmen for both ports said.
More than a
120 truck drivers launched a strike Monday alleging widespread workplace
violations against three harbor-area firms that haul freight from the
Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.
Strikers vowed to follow company rigs from trucking yards to port
terminals. But the demonstration had little effect on cargo flow Monday
as picketers stayed at those yards, outside the nation's largest port
On Tuesday picket lines moved to some port terminals,
said Barb Maynard, a spokeswoman for the Teamsters union, which is
supporting the drivers.
In a brief escalation of the day-old strike, dockworkers walked off
the job at the Evergreen, APL and Yusen terminals in Los Angeles around 9
a.m., and at the Long Beach Container Terminal an hour later, port
But an arbitrator quickly ruled that the
dockworkers' contract didn't allow them to leave the job in sympathy
with the drivers strike. A similar ruling was issued during a 48-hour
trucker strike in April.
Los Angeles port spokesman Phillip
Sanfield said the port was operating "near normal" despite minor
disruptions from the protests.
If the cargo terminals had remained
shut for long or if the closures had spread, trade could have been
imperiled at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, which handle about
40% of U.S. imports.
Drivers are targeting only trucks from Total Transportation Services Inc., Green Fleet Systems and Pacific 9 Transportation.
truckers argue that they are improperly classified as independent
contractors, leaving them with fewer workplace protections and lower pay
than if they were company employees.
The trucking companies have blamed the protests on "outside interests" that want to unionize the drivers.
is the fourth such protest in the last year. However, unlike previous
strikes, drivers have not set an end date for the job action.