LONG BEACH, Calif. — The Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach are seeing record breaking amounts of cargo, not only because people are buying more, but also because COVID-19 is sickening the ports’ workforce.
What You Need To Know
- David Averruz is a port truck driver who is worried about getting coronavirus because of his job
- Averruz believes there are many unsafe, in person interactions he is forced to engage in throughout his work day
- Averruz is one of the drivers who filed a complaint, asking Cal/OSHA to investigate
- Spectrum News 1 contacted Averruz’s employer Container Connection, but there has been no response
David Averruz is one of two port truck drivers who have sounded the alarm about working conditions. He has even filed a complaint to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA).
“We’re exposed all day long, day in, day out,” he said.
As an independent contractor, if Averruz gets sick he has no sick days to use. Buying personal protective equipment is also his responsibility. He does not have many options.
“The bills keep on piling up. We got to put food on the table, and I had to take that risk to provide for my family,” said Averruz.
Although most of his day is spent driving alone, there is more risk than meets the eye because starters Averruz is not a long haul, overnight driver. He comes to the San Pedro Port complex every day, which has suffered its own outbreak. Averruz picks up and drops off a load every day. This introduces multiple points of contact with others, like when he has to collect his chassis, the cargo container, and get mechanical issues repaired.
Having so many in person interactions and not seeing any pandemic-inspired workplace changes pushed Averruz to raise the red flag.
He asked Cal/OSHA to investigate his employer, Container Connection.
The virus has already taken some of his coworkers.
“It hits home because of the fact, you know, he was sort of kind of close to me and from one week to the other he was gone,” said Averruz.
Without reliable announcements from his company or the teamsters union, Averruz keeps track of the outbreak in a private Facebook group. It is a rudimentary map as he navigates away from danger.
Spectrum News 1 contacted Averruz’s employer Container Connection, but there has been no response.
Spectrum News 1 also reached out to Cal/OSHA. A spokesperson said details of any possible ongoing investigation could not be disclosed.