Union blocks trucks from California port

Nov. 1, 2011
A California trucking company accused of firing 10 drivers for union organizing is being blocked from picking up freight and the Teamsters are picketing in Port Hueneme, CA, refusing to load produce onto trucks owned by the fleet, Seaboard Produce Distributors Inc

A California trucking company accused of firing 10 drivers for union organizing is being blocked from picking up freight and the Teamsters are picketing in Port Hueneme, CA, refusing to load produce onto trucks owned by the fleet, Seaboard Produce Distributors Inc.

Seaboard is owned Woody Hansen. Seaboard trucks, as well as those owned by other companies in which Hansen has an interest, such as Channel Islands Logistics, arrived at the port Monday, but Teamsters refused to load them. Hansen owns Channel Islands Logistics with Bob Carr.

The truck drivers at the center of the dispute said they voted to unionize Aug. 25 and the next day they were told to turn in their keys because they were fired.

Seaboard serves produce shippers Del Monte Fresh Produce and Chiquita Fresh North America. Chiquita and Del Monte produce gets shipped to major chains, including Ralphs, Vons and Stater Bros. Markets.

“They’ll have to go to a different trucking company to do their work,” Dennis Shaw, contract administrator for the Teamsters Local Union No. 186, told the Ventura County Star.

“We’re going to stay here until the companies in the harbor tell Mr. Hansen to take his biz elsewhere,” Shaw said.

Even if Hansen manages to get his trucks loaded, Shaw told the Star, he’ll run into trouble trying to unload them at grocery store warehouses, which are also staffed by Teamsters.

“If he does get product to those locations, they won’t be unloaded,” Shaw said.

The union filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board in late August. The truck drivers are trying to regain their jobs and get fair pay, lost wages, benefits and the right to unionize. Organizing the strike took some time because it had to be cleared by Teamsters officials in Southern California and Washington, D.C., Shaw said.

About the Author

Deborah Whistler

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