On October 21, hundreds of independent truckers and over a hundred supporters turned out at 5am at the Port of Oakland in protest of escalating costs for truckers and deteriorating work conditions at the Port. The two largest terminals were shut down, and multiple smaller terminals were disrupted or shut down.
Oakland Port Truckers have formed the Port of Oakland Truckers Association (POTA) to organize for better conditions and compensation. Owner-operator truckers are demanding that terminal owners offset the expense of costly upgrades needed for trucks to be in compliance with new environmental laws. Truckers are also asking to be paid when they are forced to sit in long lines waiting for cargo loads for two hours or more. They can wait in lines up to 8 hours, which limits the amount of loads they can haul in a day and requires them to burn fuel, which they pay for. With the new SSA merger of multiple terminals on the port, congestion is at an all-time high, while SSA has only hired 20 new Longshoremen to alleviate Port traffic.
According to the port, more than 71 percent, or approximately 4,250 trucks that serve the port, are already in compliance with the exhaust requirements.
The work at the terminal slowed but was picked up again by International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) leaders who refused to support the truckers to avoid a union fine for illegal work stoppage. On Wednesday, all Port of Oakland marine terminals returned to normal operations.
This is not the first time the SSA Marine terminal has been targeted by truckers. Back in August, around 50 independent truckers from the Local 10 ILWU blocked an entrance to the facility, frustrated with a backlog of deliveries and mistreatment of port workers.
Oakland is concerned that a series of labor disruptions by longshoremen and truckers the past two years involving various issues is giving the Northern California port a bad image that could lead to cargo diversions.
The Port of Portland has also experienced labor disruptions for more than a year, and last weekend Hanjin Shipping Co., which carries more than 70 percent of the port’s container trade with Asia, announced that it will discontinue service to Portland.
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