Truckers win $30 million in wage theft settlements

Hundreds of drivers said they earned less than minimum wage delivering to retailers from ports of LA and Long Beach

Truckers win $30 million in wage theft settlements

One of the world’s largest trucking companies, XPO Logistics, has agreed to pay $30 million to settle lawsuits filed by hundreds of drivers who claimed they earned less than minimum wage, according to The LA Times.

The drivers delivered goods for major retailers from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The combined settlements, revolve around allegations that two XPO subsidiaries, XPO Logistics Cartage in Commerce and San Diego and XPO Port Service in Rancho Dominguez, paid drivers less-than-legal wages, failed to pay them for missed meal and rest periods, and failed to reimburse them for business expenses or for waiting-time penalties.

The settlements amounted to a major victory for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which applauded the lawsuits as part of a decades-long effort to organize the twin ports’ more than 25,000 drivers.

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Trucking companies classify many of their drivers as independent contractors, meaning they are ineligible for a host of labour protections. In recent times, California’s Labor Commissioner has awarded more than $50 million to some 500 truckers who claimed they were deprived of wages through misclassification as contractors rather than employees.

The pandemic has driven supply chain bottlenecks, and port drivers have voiced growing frustration at a loss of income as they wait in hours-long lines at the ports — time for which they would be compensated if they were employees.

“Misclassification of workers is all too common in the ports,” Ron Herrera, president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, said in a statement. “While XPO is notorious, there are far too many employers still cheating workers out of the pay and the rights they deserve.”

A spokesman at the company’s Greenwich, Conn., headquarters declined to elaborate to The LA Times on XPO’s decision beyond an official statement: “With the legal and regulatory landscape in California evolving, we reached a settlement on terms that are favourable for XPO and should put this matter behind us.”

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