Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Victory for environment and for low-paid truck drivers

The Los Angeles Harbour Commission has approved a plan requiring shipping companies to buy and maintain modern, clean trucks and to employ truck drivers who currently work as independent contractors. The decision is the result of a two-year lobby of a broad coalition of almost 40 unions, environmental organisations and other organisations.
According to local think tank LAANE, the plan “not only will dramatically improve air quality and cut diesel-related health problems, but will help lift 16,000 truck drivers out of poverty”. LAANE says the successful coalition can serve as a model for local alliances elsewhere.
"Today, Los Angeles has said enough is enough," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in the LA Times. "When 1,200 lives are cut short every year by a barrage of diseases, ranging from emphysema to cancer of the mouth, we have a moral obligation to act fast”.
In the same paper, a spokesperson of the American Trucking Association said the plan is a ‘scheme to unionise port drivers’ and that his organisation intends to sue the port.

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