When Shannon Bell began hauling containers in and out of the harbor a few years ago, he took the job because of the flexibility it afforded him to spend time with his four children, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports.

For seven-year port trucker Karen Simityan, the fact that he can set his own hours allows him to take a month off every year or so to visit family in Armenia.

Both men, along with several peers, on Tuesday denounced a port-sponsored environmental and labor plan requiring harbor motor carriers to hire employee drivers, saying the proposal undermines the economic freedom they now enjoy.

"This is going to take away our independence," Simityan said during an interview at a trucking hub in Rancho Dominguez. "If I wanted to work a regular eight-hour shift, I'd go do that, but I don't. I like making money when and how I want."

Bell and Simityan were among a dozen drivers and motor carriers affiliated with the California Trucking Association (CTA) who spoke out about the new plan, which harbor commissioners in Long Beach and Los Angeles are expected to vote on later this summer.

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