Transforming the trucking industry by reducing air pollution, while simultaneously improving the quality of jobs in the Port of Seattle.
Prior to the deregulation of the trucking industry in 1980, port truck drivers enjoyed a middle class standard of living. However, today big-box retailers and steam ship lines are fueling a race to the bottom among trucking companies by seeking rates below the actual cost to move goods.
Since the deregulation, many trucking companies re-labeled employees as "independent contractors." The trucking companies now pass the cost of owning and maintaining trucks on to drivers and avoid paying payroll taxes, Social Security, Medicare, and workers' compensation because the drivers aren't classified as employees. The result is a workforce that lives in poverty and does not have the resources to operate clean trucks.
The Coalition for Clean & Safe Ports was created as an alliance of environmental, labor, faith, and community organizations in order to promote sustainable economic development at American ports. Approximately 1,800 rundown diesel trucks move thousands of cargo containers from the Port of Seattle's docks to warehouses in Kent and rail yards in South Seattle every day, spewing pollution into our yards, schools and offices.
The coalition’s goal was to make the Port trucking industry more efficient and reduce air pollution, while simultaneously improving the quality of jobs. We did so by working closely with the Teamsters and other community allies to support the truck drivers in the largest successful port worker strike in 10 years, in which workers demanded cleaner and safer working conditions. As a direct result of this action many drivers have formed a truck driver association, supported by Teamsters Local 117, so they can advocate for their own rights as misclassified workers at the Port.
We believe the Port of Seattle should take the following actions:
- Require all port trucking firms to enter into concession agreements that incorporate environmental, community and labor standards;
- Grant misclassified "independent" drivers employee status, giving them the right to join a union and organize for better working conditions;
- Require trucking companies to invest in and operate a clean emission truck fleet, putting the financial costs on the shippers; and
- Require trucking companies to provide off-street parking for trucks outside residential neighborhoods.
Coalition for Clean & Safe Ports
The Coalition for Clean & Safe Ports was created as an alliance of environmental, labor, faith, and community organizations in order to promote sustainable economic development at American ports.