REPORT: MISCLASSIFICATION EXPLOITS NATION’S PORT TRUCK DRIVERS, COSTS GOV’T BILLIONS AND POLLUTES ENVIRONMENT
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
- Organization: NELP and Change to Win
A new groundbreaking study of the U.S. port trucking industry finds that the nation’s 110,000 port truck drivers, who move millions of cargo containers annually from port cities to store shelves across the country, are highly vulnerable to illegal employment classification schemes that subject them to poverty-level wages, frequent safety violations, and little autonomy from the employers who dictate their financial constraints.
The report, conducted by labor market experts at the National Employment Law Project, Change to Win and Rutgers University, draws on in-depth interviews with drivers at the nation’s major ports and concludes that the typical port truck driver is misclassified as an independent contractor. The study also concludes that the toxic diesel-truck pollution in the air of the nation’s port regions is a direct result of the industry’s adoption of misclassification as a business model.
“Trucking companies across the U.S. are rigging the game by forcing port drivers, who ship everything from tennis shoes to televisions across thousands of miles, into taking poverty-level wages. This report sheds light on an underground economy in which companies are skirting a host of obligations in order to profit greatly – at great cost to the people they hire, the government, the public, and other businesses that play by the rules,” said Dr. David Bensman, Professor in the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University and a co-author of the report.
The Big Rig: Poverty, Pollution and the Misclassification of Truck Drivers at America’s Ports reflects findings from interviews of port truck drivers at 39 companies in Seattle, Oakland, Los Angeles, Long Beach, New York and New Jersey and hundreds of their employment documents, including truck leases, pay stubs, insurance provisions, safety policies, drug and alcohol policies, meeting agendas, log books, and job applications. Combined with an aggregation of 10 prior surveys of 2,183 workers at seven major ports and a review of the industry’s structure and economics since its deregulation thirty years ago, it is the first-ever systematic examination of misclassification across an entire U.S. industry. (click on link to read full story)