Business

California bill threatens to hold big-box stores liable for Insolent trucking Firms

A group of California lawmakers is threatening to hold the country’s big box stores responsible for the ongoing labor abuses by truck companies that ship goods to retailers.

State legislators made this proposal on Tuesday following the USA TODAY Network investigation eye-opener that discovered trucking companies notorious for exploiting drivers.

According to Senator Ricardo Lara, the issue has been a longtime crisis and citizens are hoping to find a lasting solution to it. Lara is the Senate appropriations chairperson and a primary sponsoring to the bill alongside fellow Democrats Senator Steven Bradford and the renowned Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher.

Trucking firms that do not pay judgments after lying to workers will be listed and asked to reveal their history of abuse to customers. Any Retailer who conducts business with these listed companies will be held liable if employees obtain future judgments.

“In other words; if you’re deliberately contracting firms that have final judgments then you’re liable,” said Lara.

According to Caitlin Vega, a legislative director from the California Labor Federation, big box stores have an “indefensible” lawsuit ahead of them. He insists that “Corporate giants must be held responsible for their workers’ conditions.”

In opposition to the bill, Weston LaBar, Chief Executive Office, Harbor Trucking Association, said that the bill is a misguided effort to “overregulate” the trucking industry and rip the drivers of their freedom to operate as independent laborers.

In an email, LaBar added that “this group of California politicians does not understand the port trucking industry. This breach on the driver’s right to select their business model of choice should stop.”

The proposed reforms mark a radical change in responsibility in an industry that once operated underground, separate from other consumer brands with supply chains that primarily rely on port trucking companies.

A previous report by The USA TODAY Network revealed that over 1,100 California port drivers had presented labor lawsuits in civil courts and to the labor commissioner as from 2008—the year the California environmental law that requires trucking firms operating on state ports to replace old trucks with newer rigs.

To evade the cost, most companies forced their independent truck drivers into expensive lease-to-own agreements that they didn’t understand, said USA TODAY Network. When truckers fell sick or missed payment deadlines, the trucking firms fired them and confiscated their trucks.

In total, the California Labor Commissioner has recorded $40 million in judgments against trucking companies ever since 2012.

The USA TODAY’s spotlight on trucking companies exposed the most notorious big-box retailers counting Hewlett-Packard, Target, Hasbro, Ralph Lauren, J.Crew among others. To everyone’s surprise, the federal government, particularly Department of Defense also depends on insolent port trucking companies.

Conclusion

The California lawmakers are determined to go ahead with their intentions. Perhaps trucking companies will have to seek high risk business loans to gather extra funding to free themselves from these lawsuits.

 

Author bio:As an account executive, Michael Hollis has funded millions by using alternative high risk business loan solutions. His experience and extensive knowledge of the industry has become a true asset for First American Merchant.  

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