Port truckers in New Orleans may strike

The newly formed New Orleans Trucking Assn., which claims to represent about 350 independent truckers who work at the Port of New Orleans, is threatening to have its members walk off the job in early April unless trucking firms in the region agree to boost their pay, compensate them for higher fuel costs and improve working conditions.

The newly formed New Orleans Trucking Assn., which claims to represent about 350 independent truckers who work at the Port of New Orleans, is threatening to have its members walk off the job in early April unless trucking firms in the region agree to boost their pay, compensate them for higher fuel costs and improve working conditions.

According to The New Orleans Times-Picayune, the group planned to deliver a formal list of demands today to about 20 trucking firms that hire independent truckers, who haul cargo between port docks and local warehouses.

Association vp Johnny Smith said the firms will have a week to respond to the demands, and a work stoppage could start as soon as April 8 if the firms refuse to negotiate with the group.

"If 350 truckers walk off the job, that certainly would have an effect on the port. That would represent up to 25% of our truck capacity," said port executive director Gary LaGrange. "We are hoping some resolution will come about prior to that happening."

However, pulling off a successful strike could be difficult for the trucking group. The local association doesn't have the backing of a formal labor union or a larger national organization.

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