LOS ANGELES – Late on July 8, 2015, port truck drivers from Eco Flow Transportation, LLC, voted unanimously and selected Teamsters Local 848 as their exclusive bargaining agent in an election conducted by Region 21 of the National Labor Relations Board. Pursuant to an agreement with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Eco Flow agreed to remain neutral with respect to the drivers’ efforts to form a union, and the Teamsters agreed to focus on the benefits of collective bargaining in a protest-free organizing effort. The unionized drivers will now negotiate their first union contract with the company.
The neutral stance and NLRB election represented a dramatic turn of events in an industry plagued with misclassification of workers as “independent contractors,” barring them from joining a union altogether.
“I’m committed to making Eco Flow the biggest and the best harbor trucking company at the Ports of LA and Long Beach,” said Alex Paz, Eco Flow driver. “The days of companies exploiting drivers are numbered; the law is on our side, and I will continue to stand with those drivers whose rights are being violated – including their right to be Teamsters!”
“I’ve been a port truck driver for over 17 years and I’ve seen all sorts of injustices at the ports: no help when we get injured, massive deductions from our paychecks, no health insurance, and no retirement security,” said Mario Marquez, Eco Flow driver. “Eco Flow is leading the way toward justice and we are going to help grow the company by working with them to provide the best service possible to the company’s customers – while working hard to provide for our families.”
“The $12 billion drayage industry has been plagued for decades by low levels of capitalization, inefficient operations, high rates of pollution, exploitation of workers through misclassification, harassment, and retaliation, and labor unrest,” said Fred Potter, Port Division Director and International Vice President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters. “We believe that fixing the industry nationally starts with fixing it at our nation’s largest port complex, and we look forward to working with Eco Flow to assure that the company and its most valuable assets – its drivers – thrive.”
About Eco Flow
Eco Flow Transportation LLC is a new employee-based harbor trucking company formed by private equity fund Saybrook Logistics earlier this year (Saybrook also owns Total Transportation Services Inc. (TTSI)). Since Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti stood with Saybrook and the Teamsters in April to announce the launch of this innovative company, Eco Flow has hired 100 drivers and is on a path to reach 1,000 drivers to become the dominant drayage firm at our nation’s largest port complex.
Last May, the Teamsters and Eco Flow, together with Saybrook Logistics, Eco Flow’s parent, negotiated a “port solutions agreement,” the outcome of confidential discussions to settle outstanding legal disputes brokered by Mayor Garcetti between the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Port Division and Saybrook Logistics. This dynamic partnership serves as a model for bringing labor peace to the port and maximizing the productivity and efficiency of port operations and the flow of goods. The following are a few key elements of the Port Solutions Agreement between Eco Flow and the Teamsters:
· Eco Flow is a 100 percent employee driver company designed to maximize efficient utilization of truck assets in order to reduce congestion and diesel emissions.
· The company has maintained a neutral position regarding the choice of its employees to unionize, and are ready to sit at the table to negotiate a Teamsters contract with the drivers.
· Eco Flow is an innovator in the utilization of “free flow” cargo, which can help move cargo out of terminals more rapidly and increase the velocity of Port of Los Angeles terminals.
· The Teamsters and Eco Flow Transportation have agreed to aggressively promote the “port solutions” agreement.
Social Media Links
For more information on the port truck drivers’ campaign, visit www.JusticeForPortDrivers.org.
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