Los Angeles Port Trucking Companies Commit Systemic Wage Abuse

Los Angeles, CA (Law Firm Newswire) August 29, 2017 - According to a year-long investigation by the USA TODAY Network, southern California port trucking companies force their truck drivers to finance their own trucks, and use the workers’ debt as leverage to force them to work illegal and abusive hours, leaving them with paychecks that amount to much less than minimum wage.

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The investigation found that truckers in the Los Angeles port, many of whom are poor immigrants, are forced to finance their trucks, which can cost upwards of $100,000. Employers deduct the lease payments and expenses of the truck, including gas and insurance, from their paychecks. These deductions result in wages that amount to much less than minimum wage.

One driver reported receiving paychecks that amounted to as little as 67 cents for over 100 hours of work in a single week. At least seven trucking companies were found to have charged their workers for so many expenses that at the week’s end the workers owed their employers money, essentially working for free.

Contributing to the system that perpetuates wage abuse, many trucking companies overwork their drivers without offering overtime pay, and often force them to work past the federal fatigue limit of 11 hours. Many workers were fired for being too exhausted to continue driving, being sick or missing work for any reason.

After being fired, the port trucking companies seize their trucks, along with the tens of thousands of dollars the workers had paid into owning them, and then lease the trucks to new drivers. This practice leaves many truck drivers destitute.

By obtaining employment contracts and other evidence, the investigation matched the trucking companies with the most labor violations to dozens of retail brands that receive their shipments, including Target, Hewlett-Packard, Home Depot, Hasbro, J.Crew, UPS, Goodyear, Costco, Ralph Lauren and more.

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