Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 8:45 EDT

Community Groups Have Port Truckers’ Backs

February 6, 2012

SEATTLE, Feb. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — A powerful alliance of community, faith, immigrant rights, civil rights, labor and environmental organizations from throughout the Puget Sound area are holding a press conference to voice strong and steadfast support for the Port of Seattle truck drivers who have refused to return to work due to unsafe and untenable working conditions. Truckers will be available for interviews.

WHERE: Port of Seattle Headquarters, Pier 69 – 2711 Alaskan Way, Seattle

WHEN: Monday, February 6, 2012 – 10:00 am

The Port drivers transport tens of billions of dollars in manufactured goods every year generating wealth for our region. “They are at the fulcrum of our economic recovery,” said David West, executive director of Puget Sound Sage. “But they do not share in industry prosperity because the system is fixed against them. They work in sweatshops on wheels.”

Over 120 Port drivers traveled to the state legislature last week to support a bill allowing them the ability to inspect corporate-owned equipment attached to the trucks they drive. When these drivers, mostly immigrants, returned to their jobs, they endured intimidation, harassment and retaliation. They were called “animals” by their dispatchers and one of the leaders was suspended from work–punished for organizing the trip to the State Legislature.

Since then, hundreds of drivers who serve the Port’s largest shipping companies have refused to return to work, in spite of repeated threats from owners.

The signatory organizations and individuals speaking out in support say they are declaring the essential civil and human rights of these drivers. They say that this fight is at a confluence of their deeply held values: worker justice, a clean and safe environment and the right for everyone to have a chance at the American dream. They call on:

Elected officials at the local, state and federal levels to support these drivers in their demand that their employers, the trucking companies, take responsibility for the maintenance and safety of the equipment those trucking companies own.

The Port of Seattle to fix its broken and cruel system and create a safer working environment that does not exploit these drivers. This taxpayer-funded agency should work to build a trucking industry that allows truckers to earn a decent living. The supporting organizations and individuals challenge the Port not to take sides with big shippers and retailers like Wal-Mart who dominate port commerce, which further exploits and harms the drivers; and

The driver’s employers and the shipping companies to negotiate with these workers in good faith for a solution that is economically sustainable and places the burden for safe equipment where it belongs–on the companies that own them. We all deserve our roads to be safe for travel and our communities to be safe to live in.

Puget Sound Sage has established an emergency fund to help the drivers and their families during their time of need. Donations can be made on-line at www.pugetsoundsage.org, or by mail to: Puget Sound Sage, 1032 S. Jackson St. #203, Seattle, WA 98104.

CONTACT: David West
Executive Director, Puget Sound Sage
(206) 919-2774

SOURCE Puget Sound Sage

Source: PR Newswire