Delegations from California to Utah and the United Kingdom Call on Customers of NFI/Cal Cartage, like Rio Tinto, to Sever Ties With Lawbreakers
Drivers at NFI/Cal Cartage in Southern California walked off the job protesting unfair labor practices this week. Workers have been fighting misclassification, wage theft, intimidation and retaliation on the job for years. This is the fourth strike to take place at NFI/Cal Cartage.
On top of strikes, marches on the boss and other worker actions, drivers have been turning to the courts and various agencies, like the California Labor Commissioner, to aid them in the fight against misclassification and wage theft at NFI. This has been a very successful tactic, with courts ruling that drivers are indeed employees and not independent contractors and now NFI/Cal Cartage owes drivers millions in stolen wages.
Drivers have been on the picket lines speaking out about NFI/Cal Cartage’s abuse and retaliation on the job.
“We’re on strike because of NFI/Cal Cartage’s unfair labor practices. Instead of giving us six-month contracts like usual, those of us supporting the union and taking legal action are receiving one-month contracts,” said Jose Garcia, a striking worker for NFI/Cal Cartage Express.
Picketing has caused significant back-ups for companies trying to move goods in and out of America’s largest twin ports located in Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif. Port traffic is slowing down to a trickle wherever picketers are present, including in Boron, Calif., where NFI/Cal Cartage’s largest customer, Rio Tinto, has a borax mine.
Picketing workers, accompanied by a community coalition, religious leaders from the Los Angeles and Salt Lake City area and members from Teamsters Local 222, traveled and led a delegation to Rio Tinto’s U.S. headquarters in Salt Lake City. The delegation delivered a petition with over 5,000 signatures asking Rio Tinto to sever its relationship with NFI/Cal Cartage on account of their lawbreaking and their non-compliance with Rio Tinto’s Supplier Code of Conduct.
“I’m glad we were able to share our stories of struggle at NFI/Cal Cartage,” said Flavio Acosta, a striking driver who traveled to Salt Lake City. “I hope that Rio Tinto can find it in their hearts to take our stories seriously and to do the right thing.”
In addition, Teamster leaders and Gustavo Villa, a striking NFI/Cal Cartage driver, traveled to London to meet with Rio Tinto executives at their headquarters highlighting the actions taking place in California and Utah reiterating the message to drop their contract with known lawbreaker, NFI/Cal Cartage.
“I came to London in April to speak at Rio Tinto’s AGM and I’m here again to remind them of what’s happening to us at the hands of NFI/Cal Cartage Express,” Villa said. “NFI/Cal Cartage’s misclassification has denied us from worker benefits and protections and the right to form our union for far too long. Misclassification and wage theft keep us and our families in poverty. Enough is enough.”
The activities of this week, including the strike and delegations to Rio Tinto at the ports, in Boron, Salt Lake City and London, have been a huge success for continuing to bring justice to struggling NFI/Cal Cartage workers,” said International Vice President and Teamsters Port Division Director Fred Potter.
“I’m incredibly thankful for the Teamsters, Local 848 and Local 222, along with all the community coalition and religious leaders for their support,” Acosta said. “None of this could happen without the support of the Teamsters and it means so much to us drivers in our fight for justice. We will not stop taking action until NFI/Cal Cartage starts following the law and does right by us workers.”