Drivers for three of the largest companies serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach began an “indefinite strike” this week, claiming that they often make below minimum wage and that they have been unfairly labeled as independent contractors, which prevents them from unionizing.

On Monday, roughly 120 out of 400 registered truckers were said to be on strike.

Tim Linden reports at The Produce News:

The effect of the trucker strike on the movement of cargo around the port complex of the adjacent Long Beach and Los Angeles ports was initially minimal, but the threat grew larger Wednesday morning after the drivers set up picket lines outside two of the main port terminals.

Initially, dock workers honored those picket lines; however, almost immediately an arbitrator ruled that members of the International Long Shore Workers Union must return to work because of that group’s earlier agreement with the ports. The ILWU and port officials have been in labor negotiations continuously since before their latest contract expired on July 1. On July 7, the two sides agreed to a 72-hour hiatus as ILWU officials tended to an unrelated matter in the Pacific Northwest.

There has been a news blackout on those negotiations, which are scheduled to resume on July 11. If the ILWU members go on strike major disruptions could occur at all 13 West Coast ports. If they honor the truck driver strike in the two Los Angeles area ports, movement of cargo from those two ports could be severely hampered.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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