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Long road for short-haul truckers

Truckers in Long Beach

Trucks are driven near the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, the busiest port complex in the U.S., near Long Beach, California.

Short-haul truckers move freight around town, often to and from a port. Some complain that they have been misclassified as independent contractors, even though they are treated like employees.

“They classify us as an independent contractor, basically, to get out of paying certain taxes. They put a lot of the expense on the drivers,” says Carol Cauley, a short-haul trucker in Savannah, Georgia.

As an independent contractor, Cauley says she’s forced to pay unreasonable expenses, like the cost for tires that belong to the shipping company.

But a representative for short-haul trucking companies says truckers don’t have to work as independent contractors.

“If a driver prefers to be an employee, there is certainly companies that he or she can go work for. In fact, there is a drastic shortage of company drivers,” says Alex Cherin, executive director of the Harbor Trucking Association.

Employee truckers earn less money he says, but they have more steady work.

Cherin says his organization will assist state regulators in weeding out companies that intentionally misclassify their truckers as independent contractors.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.

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