Feb 182018
 

Lawsuits Against Three Port Of Los Angeles Trucking Companies

LOS ANGELES CITY ATTORNEY MIKE FEUER FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST THREE PORT TRUCKING COMPANIES

Alleges Companies Intentionally Misclassified Hundreds of Truckers As Independent Contractors, Rather Than Employees, to Avoid Providing Benefits And Paying Applicable Taxes

 

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced that his office has filed lawsuits against three Port of Los Angeles trucking companies alleging each has engaged in a scheme to misclassify truckers working in their employ as “independent contractors” instead of “employees” in order to evade their obligations to provide benefits and pay relevant taxes, and shift operating costs.

“We allege these port trucking companies take advantage of hundreds of hard-working drivers, requiring them to pay onerous expenses just to do their jobs, while leaving them without basic benefits and protections–all to boost the companies’ profits” said Feuer. “It’s wrong, and we’re fighting to stop it.”

“In late November, the Council’s Trade, Travel and Tourism committee held a special field hearing at the Port of LA to hear firsthand from truckers and warehouse workers about labor abuses, wage theft and poor working conditions at trucking and warehouse companies operating at the nation’s largest shipping Port,” said Councilmember Joe Buscaino. “As chairman, I pledged to do all I could to put an end to the modern day sharecropping that is taking place on public property, and asked our City Attorney to explore all possible legal options. I commend the City Attorney for dedicating the resources of his office to addressing this problem, filing this lawsuit and fighting on behalf of the people of California, who deserve a fair competitive marketplace where no company is allowed to gain an unfair advantage by exploiting human beings for the sake of corporate profits.”

CMI Transportation LLC (CMI), K&R Transportation California LLC (K&R) and Cal Cartage Transportation Express LLC (Cal Cartage), three trucking companies operating in and around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, are each named in three separate lawsuits. The companies rely on fleets of truck drivers to provide short distance transit of cargo between the ports, railyards and warehouses.

The lawsuits allege that the companies purposely classify their drivers as independent contractors rather than employees to avoid obligations to pay employee benefits, such as unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, minimum wage, and reimbursement for thousands of dollars of business expenses. Allegedly misclassifying drivers also allows each company to avoid paying applicable California taxes, instead shifting this responsibility to the drivers. While these companies increase their profits, drivers may take home as little as a few cents in a work period.

CMI, K&R and Cal Cartage each allegedly exert near complete control over their drivers’ assignments and details of their work – the most significant factor in determining if a worker is an independent contractor or an employee under California law. The companies allegedly make assignments, unilaterally set the rates they pay drivers and retain and exercise the right to terminate drivers without cause.

Each of the companies exert further control over their drivers by allegedly utilizing a leasing scheme for trucks, which pushes their associated costs to the drivers. The terms of the leases allegedly place strict quotas on drivers’ workloads and, in practice, substantially restrict the ability of drivers to take the truck with them if they are terminated or want to pursue other opportunities. Thus, drivers are essentially forced to continue working for these companies or risk losing their significant investment in their trucks.

The lawsuit seeks to enjoin each of the trucking companies from continuing to engage in their current business practices and to adopt measures that immediately remedy violations.

The lawsuit also seeks restitution of any money or property the companies acquired or retained as a result of the alleged business practices, as well as civil penalties of up to $2,500 for each violation.

Assistant City Attorney Michael Bostrom, Deputy City Attorneys Christopher Munsey, Marissa Roy, Saro Balian and Miguel Bahamon are handling the litigation.

 

 

Jan 232017
 
Economy And Tourism At All Time High In 2016

2016 in Los Angeles

Mayor Garcetti announces a record-breaking year for the L.A. economy

Los Angeles’ economy continued to surge in 2016, breaking all-time records for tourism, travelers at LAX, and cargo volume shipped through the Port of Los Angeles.

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the new records at Universal Studios Hollywood’s “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” alongside Councilmember Paul Krekorian, and leaders from the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, Los Angeles World Airports, and the Port of Los Angeles.

“This is L.A.’s moment. Los Angeles is welcoming more visitors to our city and passengers through our airport than ever before, our nation-leading Port is making L.A. an even more critical trade gateway to the world, and we are experiencing the kind of job growth that we haven’t seen in a generation,” said Mayor Garcetti. “We’re working hard to keep up the momentum, by going after and landing one-of-a-kind attractions like the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. And here’s the best part: there’s even more opportunity on the horizon, and an even bigger role for L.A. to play on the world stage.”

According to the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, the city welcomed 47.3 million visitors in 2016 — an increase of nearly 4 percent over 2015. It marked the sixth consecutive year of record-breaking tourism growth, and moved L.A. closer to Mayor Garcetti’s goal of welcoming 50 million visitors a year by 2020.

“Los Angeles continues to establish itself as one of the most desirable destinations in the world for tourists and business people alike,” said Councilmember Paul Krekorian, chair of the Budget and Finance, and Job Creation committees. “Whether it’s the sunny beaches and scenic landscape, our diverse communities and cuisines, our rapidly growing technology sector or the lure of movie magic as the global entertainment capital, Los Angeles has something to offer everyone who visits. We’re making tremendous investments into LA’s future to ensure it grows into an even greater metropolis that is transit and business friendly, on the cutting edge of innovation and an unparalleled hub of diversity.”

“Global desire for the Los Angeles experience is at an all-time high and we are humbled to welcome a record 47.3 million visitors,” said Ernest Wooden Jr., president and CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. “There’s never been a better time to discover Los Angeles and we invite travelers from across the globe to immerse themselves in our thriving culinary scene, unparalleled cultural experiences and celebrated only-in-L.A. attractions.”

LAX also broke its record for total number of passengers for the third consecutive year. In 2016, 80.9 million travelers passed through the airport, an increase of more than 8 percent over last year. Of those travelers, 22.6 million — or more than 28 percent — were international.

“We are creating an airport experience that makes a great first and last impression of Los Angeles,” said Los Angeles World Airports Chief Executive Officer Deborah Flint. “Our focus is on delivering a gold-standard airport that shines with the top-rated airports around the world, by transforming LAX with a $14 billion investment that will bring it into the modern era for today’s traveler.”

The Port of Los Angeles broke a record of its own, moving more cargo in 2016 than ever in its 100-year history. The Port shipped 8.8 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) last year, the most ever by a port in the Western Hemisphere.

“I salute the strong collaboration among the labor workforce, our terminals and the many stakeholders in the supply chain who kept cargo moving speedily and efficiently during a record-breaking year,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “To handle this much volume without congestion issues is an extraordinary accomplishment and bodes well for the future of the San Pedro Bay complex.”

The records come amid an unprecedented period of growth across L.A.’s economy. Since Mayor Garcetti took office in 2013, the City has created more than 140,000 new jobs, cut the unemployment rate in half, and permitted more than 150,000 new businesses. The economy has come all the way back from the Great Recession, and L.A. now has more jobs than it did at the peak before the civil unrest of 1992.

The City has also added numerous high-profile attractions in recent years. Just yesterday, Mayor Garcetti announced that Los Angeles has been chosen as home the new Lucas Museum of Narrative Art — adding another cultural treasure to L.A.’s collection of renowned civic institutions. In addition, the tourism sector has benefited from new investments in attractions like “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal Studios Hollywood.

“With Comcast NBCUniversal’s unprecedented $1.5 billion investment in the company’s core businesses of production and tourism, Universal Studios Hollywood has achieved record-breaking attendance, created thousands of jobs and had a positive impact on the region’s economy,” said Ron Meyer, Vice Chairman, NBCUniversal.

“The ambitious Epic Transformation of our property has had a remarkable effect on our theme park, and as a major entertainment destination we are thrilled that Universal Studios Hollywood has played such a significant role in driving global tourism to Southern California,” said Karen Irwin, President & COO, Universal Studios Hollywood. “With the popularity of such signature attractions as our behind-the-scenes Studio Tour and ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,’ Universal Studios Hollywood makes the elusive world of movie-making magic accessible to our guests and it’s our pleasure to invite them to peek behind the velvet curtain for these truly authentic experiences.”

 

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Nov 012016
 

Metro Bike Share comes to the Port of Los Angeles

Getting from place to place along the LA Waterfront is about to get a little easier – and a lot more fun.

The Port of Los Angeles, in partnership with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), has been given the green light by the LA Board of Harbor Commissioners to expand the Metro Bike Share program to the 12-mile LA Waterfront by next summer. The vote clears the way for consideration by the LA County Metro Board, which is expected to vote on the proposal soon.

“Bike Share at the Port of Los Angeles will offer a new, fun and environmentally friendly way to explore and experience the LA Waterfront and its many attractions,” said Doane Liu, deputy executive director at the Port of Los Angeles. “This new program will provide another transportation option for residents and visitors to consider, which will have the added benefit of reducing local traffic and parking congestion too.”

The LA Waterfront Bike Share will include 11 stations to start, eight in San Pedro and three in Wilmington, with approximately 10 shareable bikes per station. Payment kiosks at each station will allow riders to use either their Metro TAP card or credit card to pay, with costs varying depending on the option selected.

Proposed station stops will include:

  • Fanfare Fountains at Gateway Plaza / World Cruise Center
  • Catalina Sea and Air Terminal
  • Battleship IOWA
  • Downtown Harbor
  • CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles
  • Ports O’ Call Village (future San Pedro Public Market)
  • DoubleTree Hotel San Pedro
  • Cabrillo Beach
  • Wilmington Waterfront Park – West
  • Wilmington Waterfront Park – East
  • Banning’s Landing Community Center

The Metro Bike Share program was officially rolled out in downtown Los Angeles by Mayor Eric Garcetti this past July, a launch that included nearly 65 stations and 1,000 bikes. The program is designed to improve mobility and access for residents and visitors via shared-use bikes and docking stations located in key locations with easy access traveling from one location to another.

Bike Share also links to Metro’s regional transportation system of buses, subways and light rails. Metro hopes to expand Bike Share to nine total regions, including the LA Waterfront, building up to an inventory of more than 4,000 bikes.

Metro and the Port will equally split the capital costs to create the new Bike Share infrastructure along the LA Waterfront, with the Port additionally covering 65% of the ongoing operation and maintenance for the new Port Bike Share locations. Port costs will be funded primarily by its Public Access Investment Fund.

The new Bike Share program is one of several alternative transportation options being developed along the LA Waterfront. The San Pedro Business Improvement District doubled the number of rubber-tire trolley cars this summer, which allows it to cover more stops and routes, and is expected to increase ridership. In addition, developers of the approved San Pedro Public Market recently announced plans to include a mobile Red Trolley Car replica as part of the new development.

The Port of Los Angeles is America’s premier port and has a strong commitment to developing innovatively strategic and sustainable operations that benefit Southern California’s economy and quality of life. North America’s leading seaport by container volume and cargo value, the Port of Los Angeles facilitated $270 billion in trade during 2015. Port operations and commerce facilitate more than 133,000 jobs (about one in 14) in the City of Los Angeles and 479,000 jobs (or one in 18) in the five-county Southern California region. The San Pedro Bay Ports support nearly 1 million California jobs and 2.8 million nationwide.

 

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