A private settlement reached between Teamsters Local 848 and trucking company Universal Logistics calls for the company to reclassify its drayage drivers in the Southern California region as employees rather than independent contractors, the Teamsters Union announced Aug. 25. In addition, Universal Logistics will provide back pay and offer reinstatement to more than 60 terminated workers.

The trucking company will also recognize the union as the representative of the drivers.

“This is a big step, but there’s more work to be done,” said Sean O’Brien, Teamsters general president. “The Teamsters will continue to fight until every misclassified worker is an employee under the law.”

The settlement resolves a multi-year labor dispute.

“The resolution of these cases shows that it is never too late for parties to recognize that it is in their mutual interest to resolve their disputes without lengthy and expensive litigation,” Teamsters Region 21 Regional Director William Cowen said. “I have great hopes that this settlement and initial collective bargaining agreement will be the cornerstone of a thriving trucking enterprise in Southern California providing well-paying jobs with quality union benefits.”

Universal Logistics noted the company and union reached a “best-in-class” arrangement, and the deal will provide Universal’s customers with AB 5-compliant and reliable services in the Los Angeles and Long Beach drayage market. California’s AB 5 law is designed to get tough on independent contractor misclassification.

“Solidifying our relationship with Local Unit 848 will give [Universal Logistics’ subsidiary Southern Counties Express Inc.] the ability to advance its capacity footprint in a changing California labor model and continue to be a leader in the drayage space,” said Tim Phillips, CEO of Universal.