L.A. vetoes CalCartage port operating agreement

Date: Monday, May 14, 2018
Source: American Shipper

  The Los Angeles City Council has taken away the ability of California Cartage Co. (CalCartage) to operate at Foreign Trade Zone 202 at the Port of Los Angeles.
   At its meeting on Tuesday, the council vetoed the one-year extension of the FTZ operating agreement the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners had entered into with CalCartage last month.
   The FTZ activities take place in about 6,000 square feet, of the 600,000-square-foot warehouse that CalCartage operates at the port. Sunglasses and electronics were among the products handled in the FTZ.
   CalCartage is one of the larger port drayage companies in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as well as a warehouse company.
   It has been targeted by the Teamsters and other groups seeking to require drayage companies to recognize workers as employees and not independent contractors.
   Councilman Joe Buscaino said drivers have been “forced into debt, they’ve worked past exhaustion and they have been left with nothing. That is completely, outright wrong,” he said. “How can we incentivize a company that is treating its employees like crap? It’s not going to fly with me, and it shouldn’t fly with you,” he told his fellow council members, who voted unanimously to veto the operating agreement.
   The harbor commission had approved the extension of the operating agreement with CalCartage on April 5 despite a request by Celine Perez of the Warehouse Workers Resource Center that they not do so. Perez said that although NFI Industries, which had purchased CalCartage last fall, has made some changes, employees still had complaints about health and safety and retaliation by supervisors against workers who have made complaints about working conditions. 
   CalCartage said in a statement that the council's veto “is very disappointing. Unfortunately, the decision was based on misinformation and unsubstantiated claims. The attacks that have been made against CalCartage are misdirected and uninformed.”
   It noted said the veto “does not inhibit CalCartage’s ability to continue performing non-FTZ operations at its Wilmington facility. Those other operations will continue. CalCartage has been a contributing member of the Los Angeles community for more than 75 years. Being a good corporate citizen is, and will always be, an important CalCartage priority and guiding principle.”

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