By Doug Cunningham. This article was first published on Labor Radio.

California’s Labor Commissioner is ordering Pacific 9 port trucking company to pay $6.9 million in stolen wages to 38 drivers. It’s a landmark case, ruling that these drivers were mis-classified as independent contractors. Teamsters port trucker campaign spokesperson Barb Maynard.

[Barb Maynard]: “This is great news for port truck drivers who are mis-classified, but it’s more than that. It’s a whole lot more than that. What we’re starting to see here – and what the Teamsters have really been taking on with this campaign – is the beginning of the end of a scheme that is illegal. It is rife with tax fraud. And it’s led to a degradation of work in America.”

Maynard says these wage theft cases were heard back to back and California’s labor commissioner was able to see that wage theft and mis-classification of drivers is a pervasive, widespread port trucking industry problem. And Maynard says it’s a nationwide problem for workers not confined to one industry.

[Barb Maynard]: “For many workers in America, particularly those who used to be in the middle class, those who are professionals – these are professional port drivers – by being mis-classified as independent contractors they are not only robbed of pay but they’re robbed of benefits. They’re having to pay the taxes for the boss. They are not paying into the social security system, which is very dangerous because what happens if some large portion of our workforce doesn’t have any retirement security at all, even if it’s just social security?”

The drivers who won this $6.9 million wage theft judgement are still on strike at Pac 9 Transportation and their struggle doesn’t end with this legal victory.

[Barb Maynard]: “They are absolutely determined to not only improve their own lives and their own families’ lives but to make sure that every port truck driver – not only at the ports of L.A. and Long Beach but at all the ports across America – have their rights restored and have justice.”

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