Drivers at Global Powerhouse Toll Vote for Union Representation, Clear Path for Good, Green Jobs
Truck drivers at Toll Group, an Australian-based global logistics and transportation powerhouse, sent shockwaves throughout the U.S. port trucking industry yesterday by voting for union representation. The vote – the first in 30 years at the L.A. ports – paves the way for Toll drivers to secure improvements in an industry notorious for poverty wages and sweatshop-like conditions.
Yesterday’s victory is part of the larger effort by LAANE, CLUE LA and our partners in the Coalition for Clean & Safe Ports to transform the port trucking industry. For decades, the industry has been a major contributor to both poverty and pollution, misclassifying drivers as independent contractors and obstructing efforts to reduce dangerous diesel emissions.
Over the past year, the battle at Toll, where drivers endured unsanitary and humiliating conditions, became emblematic of the struggle to clean up port trucking. As drivers demanded change and community leaders lent their support, the company engaged in a series of increasingly aggressive retaliatory actions, including terminating union supporters. Undeterred, the drivers forged ahead, ultimately voting by a three to one margin in favor of representation by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
CLUE LA clergy and lay leaders from Long Beach have played a pivotal pastoral and supportive role in the often difficult task these workers faced when pursuing the process of forming a union. CLUE Committee members actively participated in delegations to Toll Executives, letter writing campaigns, and being present with workers in thier committee meetings.
The vote is expected to have broad repercussions in the U.S. port trucking industry, helping to create a model for good, green jobs that reduce poverty and clean up the environment.