Retail Giants Fueling the Port Issue?
Once a carrier starts treating a truck driver unfairly, it is only a matter of time before they start seeking work elsewhere. Unfortunately, drivers also have to go where the money is.
This means two things. The first is that drivers sometimes end up working for carriers who are willing to take advantage of their place in the industry. The second is that drivers can end up in some very bad situations for long periods of time.
Such is the case in the Los Angeles and Long Beach areas of California. The ports are a portal for freight on its way to US consumers, but drivers are the intermediaries who make this happen. Sadly, many drivers have reported they’ve been underpaid, overworked, and taken advantage of. Some drivers have even called the arrangement akin to a modern form of indentured servitude.
But while all eyes are on the carriers and legal figures when it comes to fixing the mess and holding people responsible, could there be another party who is secretly fanning the flames and causing this arrangement to continue?
Many believe that large corporations who take advantage of these workers and the situations they find themselves in can be stuck with part of the blame in this situation. Drivers must go where the money is, but many large companies have been known to ignore labor violations and take advantage of cheap labor.
Large corporations often look for subcontractors to deliver their freight instead of hiring dedicated truckers. In an area where independent contractors are plentiful, this isn’t hard.
While retailers have been working to avoid overseas operations that use exploitative schemes and unfair working arrangements, some companies have actually fought against efforts to crack down on these problems in the US.
With some lobbyists rallying against worker protections in the past, it is hard to see where the corporate world stands on these labor disputes. It is certainly true that not all companies in the port area support the problems going on there.
However, drivers who are stuck in this situation have a vested interest in discovering and exposing any organizations that support port labor-issues. Though the corporate world is about the bottom line, a drivers’ life is not something to put a price on.