The Port of Oakland Board of Port Commissioners has renewed a project labor agreement that will increase East Bay hiring for Port-related capital projects. The five-year pact approved last month is intended to boost earnings for local workers that totaled $4.4 million in FY14-15 and increase the number of local workers entering the construction industry.
“Our goal was to update the original agreement to strengthen the Port’s role in promoting local hiring and growing a pipeline of future talent in the construction and building trades,” said Port of Oakland Director of Social Responsibility Amy Tharpe. “The future of the construction industry depends on strong partnerships between industry, labor, and the communities they serve to build a workforce that creates good, family-sustaining jobs for workers.”
While the aforementioned might sound reasonable, clearly the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) has a different take. On January 29, 2016 the IBT issued a press-release depicting trucking operations using independent contractors (IC’s) as in need of major reform, “Under the agreement, trucking brokers must commit to paying construction truck drivers the prevailing wage, as well as adhere to workplace safety, health and environmental standards. Trucking brokers and contractors will no longer be able to misclassify their drivers as “independent contractors,” a common scheme utilized in construction trucking to avoid labor and employment rights.”
The IBT’s incendiary statement is backed up by a key component of the newly signed Maritime Aviation Project Labor Agreement (MAPLA) which is a requirement that ALL truck drivers working Port projects must complete a questionnaire that is highly subjective and misleading which will likely end up being used adversely against both IC’s and brokers. The information collected will be made available to both the IBT and the public generally with some information redacted.
The WSTA submitted formal comments to the Port and has a meeting scheduled with the Port to discuss our concerns about the intrusive questions, privacy violation concerns, and how the MAPLA should not be used discriminate against IC’s – the actual goal of the IBT regardless of how benign some view the MAPLA.