ATA: LA officials'
Mar 27, 2009 2:34 PM
City and other public officials involved with the Port of Los Angeles CA are misleading the public and press about the purpose and results of a lawsuit filed by the American Trucking Associations (ATA), according to ATA.
ATA has challenged Concession plans for both the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach. A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth District ruled March 20 that all or part of the Concession Plans are an unconstitutional interference in interstate trade, ATA said.
"These parties continue to mislead the citizens of Los Angeles and Long Beach by claiming that ATA is trying to kill the ports’ Clean Truck Program," said Clayton Boyce. "ATA has supported the Clean Truck Program, including the ports container fee for financing the replacement of older trucks, the banning of older trucks and the ports drayage registry, and continues to do so. ATA has opposed only the ports’ Concession Plans, especially the Los Angeles ban on independent owner operators."
The Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villiaraigosa, issued a statement saying: "Our Clean Truck Program is reducing toxic port truck pollution at an accelerated pace, and today’s ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals does not challenge the truck ban schedule or truck fees that are helping us successfully battle this health crisis.
"We are committed to fighting this case because our Clean Truck Program is the most sustainable plan for ensuring a clean, safe and secure trucking system for the long-haul at the Port of Los Angeles.”
ATA said that the judges’ opinion made clear that ATA does not oppose the environmental components of the ports’ regulations. "The judges’ opinion also pointedly criticized the Port of Los Angeles’ owner-operator ban, which would rob thousands of small business owners of their livelihoods" ATA said. "Owner-operators are drivers who own or lease their own trucks. They are small business owners, and many small trucking businesses must contract with owner-operators to serve their customers."
ATA said that the recent comments by the public officials may have two purposes: to lower public expectations for the ports’ unsuccessful defense of the lawsuit and to distract from the reason that Los Angeles, but not Long Beach, bowed to union influence and banned owner-operators.
Requiring that drivers be trucking company employees will allow unions to organize the drivers, ATA said.
ATA quoted the judges' opinion: "As to smaller companies that cannot afford the vast increase in capital requirements for the purchase of equipment and personnel expenditures needed to turn independent contractors into employees, the result would likely be fatal. And that means that those smaller carriers, and their employees, and even independent contractors who depend upon them, will be out of work. One wonders why it should be thought that they should just put up with the loss any more than employees of a company should be forced to abide their wrongful termination and the resulting emotional damages and stress that termination causes.
"We see little safety-related merit in those thread-paper arguments, which denigrate small businesses and insist that individuals should work for large employers or not at all...It is a rather blatant attempt to decide who can use whom for drayage services, and is a palpable interference with prices and services."
The judges sent the case back to the US District Court for a ruling on whether all or parts of the Concession Plans will be barred.
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