SEATTLE (Feb. 13) — About 300 port workers, faith leaders, and community members rallied in support of short-haul truck drivers — mostly immigrants from East Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe — who are taking on the giants of the shipping industry over basic issues of safety and fairness. Together, they are calling on elected officials and the big shipping companies to do what it takes to ensure truck drivers at our seaport get the safe working conditions and fair treatment they deserve.
The rally marked the start of the third week of an unprecedented work stoppage that has brought the Port of Seattle to a virtual standstill over basic issues of fairness and safety. At least four parked container ships are now visible in Elliott Bay, anchored and idle evidence of how dramatically the drivers’ action has slowed the movement of goods through our seaport.
On Saturday, hundreds of community supporters, port truckers and elected officials gathered at the Teamsters Hall in Tukwila for a Town Hall meeting hosted by King County Councilman Joe McDermott and Port Commissioner Rob Holland to discuss the port truckers’ issues.
The drivers’ work stoppage was sparked in late January, when more than 100 drivers went to the State Capitol to talk to their representatives about legislation that would help regulate overweight loads, protect the safety of the trucks they drive, and give them some basic workplace rights. When these drivers tried to report back to work the next day, they were harassed, threatened, retaliated against, and insulted to the point that they decided enough was enough: they weren’t going back to work until things changed.
Contributions to Safe Driver Family Support Fund
Organizations have been inquiring about how to contribute to the Safe Drivers Family Support Fund here in Seattle to support the families of port truck drivers while the drivers are not working.
At the request of the Teamsters, Puget Sound Sage has offered to serve as a conduit for contributions going to the Support Fund. The primary agency for administering emergency financial assistance in metro Seattle is the Puget Sound Labor Agency (PSLA), a United Way agency. Puget Sound Sage has an agreement with PSLA to distribute financial assistance to out-of-work port drivers.
Contributions to PSLA for the port truck drivers should be made out to “PSLA – Safe Driver Family Support Fund” and sent to 2800 1st Ave #126, Seattle, WA 98121. Wire transfers to PSLA should be sent to: Homestreet Bank, Routing Number: 325084426, Account: 5322194548. PSLA receives a 15% administrative fee to cover costs of distribution.
Contributions to Sage for the port truck drivers should be made out to “Puget Sound Sage – Safe Driver Family Support Fund” and sent to 1032 S. Jackson St. #203, Seattle, WA 98104. Wire transfers to Sage should be sent to: One Pacific Coast Bank, Routing Number 121182056, Account 0166001537. Sage will not deduct an administrative fee from direct contributions.
Large contributions of $10,000 or more should be sent directly to the PSLA. Smaller contributions can be sent to Puget Sound Sage or PSLA. Food donations can also be made to PSLA for the drivers.