On Tuesday, July 8, 2014, nearly 40 truck drivers staged a protest at the Port of Savannah to voice their concerns being classified as independent contractors. Such status, they say, deprives them of benefits including workers’ compensation.
The drivers are asking GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz to meet with them in an effort to resolve their issues. In response, Foltz has urged the drivers to confront their employers directly.
Truck drivers who work at the port stated that they are in solidarity with drivers in California who are striking for better pay and benefits.
Trucking and labor across the country are engaged in a discussion over what defines independent contractor status, as lawmakers and courts debate whether owner-operators should be classified as employees.
In recent years, unions increasingly have supported lawsuits and legislation to force owner-operators to be classified as employees.
Additionally, environmental and labor groups have encouraged banning owner-operators at ports. They argue employee status is necessary for truckers to afford upgrades that meet stricter emissions standards that now exist in many ports.