Under a new law, retailers share liability for misclassified truck drivers at California ports

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A new California law attempts to resolve a long-running dispute over wages and working conditions for port truck drivers by putting big retailers — who foot the freight bill — on the hook for labor violations by the cargo carriers.

Senate Bill 1402, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Saturday, is set to take effect in January.

The labor battle revolves around the 25,000 drayage drivers who transport cargo for short distances along the supply chain that connects the vessels docked at the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland to the nearby rail yards and warehouses. Nearly 90% of drivers are classified by their carriers as independent contractors.

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