Your Oct. 30 Pre-Trip: Port truckers protest labor practices

Here are five things worth knowing today:

1. Port drivers employed by Gold Point Transportation went on strike to protest unfair labor practices including misclassification and wage theft. They are picketing at the company yard as well as at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. On Monday, Oct. 26, port truck drivers who say they are misclassified as independent contractors began their eighth strike at America’s largest port complex, the twin ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach. The striking drivers included those from Pacific 9 Transportation (Pac 9), who have been on an indefinite strike since July this year for 15 straight weeks, and those employed by XPO Logistics. On Tuesday, Oct. 27, misclassified drivers from Intermodal Bridge Transport (IBT) began their second strike after delivering a petition for improved working conditions, recognition as employees, and to be represented by the Teamsters.

2. Project selections for the seventh round of DOT's Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) competitive grant program were announced on Oct. 29. The department said it will provide nearly $500 million for 39 projects in 34 states, with some projects spanning several states. TIGER 2015 discretionary grants were awarded to fund capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure. As with the previous six rounds of TIGER, the competition was rigorous, with 627 eligible applications requesting $10.1 billion or 20 times the available funding, DOT said.

3. President Barack Obama has signed into law a three-week patch to prevent a transportation funding stoppage, Equipment World reports. This marks the 35th short-term patch of the bill since 2008, the report notes. The patch gives lawmakers until Nov. 20 to come up with a long-term bill or to face another deadline push.

4. UPS announced it will triple the size of its “Centennial” ground package sorting facility in Louisville and will nearly double package processing rates. This project will cost an estimated $300 million and should be substantially completed by 2018, according to UPS. At this site, UPS said it plans to add more than 300 jobs over the course of the project with recruitment starting in 2017. The hub will be retrofitted with automated conveyors to move packages through the sort process capturing package data and routing volume to proper load positions, according to UPS. Six-sided decode tunnels will replace traditional scanning to capture package information from address labels. The current building footprint will increase from 257,000-sq.-ft. to 838,000-sq.-ft. with construction scheduled to begin in 2016, according to UPS. Pickup and delivery operations will continue throughout the project.

5. Mexican trucker Daniel Salvador Gomez-Reyes could get up to life in U.S. prison for smuggling $2 million worth of methamphetamine into Texas. According to The Trucker, Gomez-Reyes was hauling squash and other vegetables, and prosecutors in McAllen, TX, found 165 pounds of methamphetamine hidden under the produce. The Trucker has more.

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