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A trucker walks back to his truck at a truck stop and diesel fueling depot where diesel costs USD 4.179 per gallon, in Oak Hills, Calif., on April 01, 2008. (ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images) A trucker walks back to his truck at a truck stop and diesel fueling depot where diesel costs USD 4.179 per gallon, in Oak Hills, Calif., on April 01, 2008. (ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)  

California Truck Drivers Launch Strike

California truck drivers went on strike Monday to demand what they say is rightful full-time employment.

With the help of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, California truckers claim companies have been misidentifying them as independent contractors when they should be listed as full-time employees.

This employment status has caused drivers to miss out on “unemployment insurance, organizing, collective bargaining, and workers’ compensation,” according to a report issued by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), Change to Win Strategic Organizing Center and the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE).

The report also states that “49,000 of the nation’s 75,000 port truck drivers are misclassified as independent contractors.”

MSNBC reports that though not the first strike by the truck drivers “with the backing of the Teamsters union” it is “the first without a definitive end date.”

However, some believe this push to make independent truck drivers into full-time employees is actually just a way of collecting more union dues.

James Sherk, a senior policy analyst in labor economics at the conservative Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that by “pushing the independent contractors out of the industry” or getting “them classified as full-time employees” the unions will be able to “start collecting millions of dollars in dues” which are currently out of reach because independent truck drivers don’t have to engage in collective bargaining.

Sherk notes that many of these independent truck drivers “invest their own capital” when it comes to buying their truck and supplies and often contract with multiple companies.

He adds, “I don’t see that many truckers as being dissatisfied.”

“They like being their own boss” Sherk said of the independent truckers, “They get to pick when they work or stay home with the family.”

The strikes have the potential to become disruptive if truck drivers remain true to their promise to be in it for the long haul.

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