Local short-haul truck drivers are protesting working conditions at the Port of Seattle. (97.3 KIRO FM/Chris Sullivan)

Truck drivers protest Port of Seattle

A handful of short-haul truck drivers are protesting the Port of Seattle on Monday, saying they are being forced to haul over-weight loads on unsafe trailers.

Shimelis Jorga has been driving freight loads from the Port to the BNSF rail yard in South Seattle for 11 years. He told MyNorthwest.com that shippers routinely over-load his truck, and he has no idea what he's carrying.

"We have no control over what kind of can we have loaded from A to B," he said. "We don't know, inside, what kind of weight. We don't even know."

Jorga claims the port removed the scales used to weigh the short-haul loads, making it impossible to know how heavy his rig is. As the truck owner and driver, he is responsible for the weight and if he gets stopped by the State Patrol or the WSDOT, he is the one who gets a ticket.

The Port of Seattle told MyNorthwest.com that no scales have been removed and the weights are listed on the manifests. It said any issues for the drivers are an issue for the shippers and not the port.

Many of the protesting truck drivers are immigrants, and they claim they are being taken advantage of by those major shippers at the port. Several of them are refusing to haul loads until that changes.

Chris Sullivan, KIRO Radio Reporter
Chris loves the rush of covering breaking news and works hard to try to make sense of it all while telling stories about real people in extraordinary circumstances.
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