Institute for Research on Labor and Employment
Driven to Poverty: Misclassification & Wage Theft in Southern California’s Short Haul Trucking Industry
- Author(s): Halvorsen, Jesse
- et al.
This brief examines the history regulation and organizing short-haul trucking at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. During a long period of high union density and strong regulation, short haul truck-driving grew into a desirable blue-collar occupation. However, deregulation during the 1970s and 1980s incentivized trucking companies to shift their workforces to owner-operator truckers in response to competitive pressures. Amplified by rampant misclassification, this arrangement shifts risks and costs onto drivers while exempting them from labor protections and the ability to form a union. Wage theft in the form of lengthy and uncompensated wait times is also common. The brief concludes with a consideration of the applicability of model legislation from other states to the particularly acute issues faced by California's short-haul truckers.