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Ports & Terminals

Oakland’s Wan says harbor trucker protest has shut down port operations & will result “in losses to competing ports”

Danny Wan, Executive Director, Port of Oakland warned that a protest by harbor truckers that has shut down Port of Oakland terminal operations: “will damage all the businesses operating at the ports and cause California ports to further suffer market share losses to competing ports.”

Wan was responding to harbor truckers who are protesting implementation of California’s Assembly Bill 5.

Danny Wan, Executive Director, Port of Oakland

AB 5

The Port noted that protests that started Monday over the implementation of AB5 have effectively shut down operations at shipping terminals at the Port of Oakland. The shutdown will further exacerbate the congestion of containers dwelling at the Oakland Seaport as port officials urge terminal operations to resume. 

AB5 is state law adopted in 2018 that the courts have affirmed when the United States Supreme Court denied review of the law. The State is now offering resources to help truckers comply with the law.  

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a legal challenge by the California Trucking Association to the controversial AB 5 law, putting into effect a requirement intended to reclassify independent owner-operators as motor carrier employees.

In a statement released on July 20th, Wan said: “We understand the frustration expressed by the protestors at California ports …But prolonged stoppage of port operations in California for any reason will damage all the businesses operating at the ports and cause California ports to further suffer market share losses to competing ports.”  He added: “Truckers are vital to keeping goods moving …We trust that implementation of AB5 can be accomplished in a way that accommodates the needs of this vital part of the supply chain.”  

ILWU Responds

During the trucker protest, dock workers who are members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) have refused to go to work at several Port of Oakland terminals precipitating the shutdown that was in its third day.

According to press reports several longshoremen said they refused to go to work in support of the truckers.

However, a statement issued by ILWU International Vice President Bobby Olvera, Jr stated that the ILWU actually supports AB 5 because it believes that truck drivers should have the right to union membership: “The ILWU believes collective bargaining is fundamental to workplace fairness and safety, as well as a foundation of democratic society. That’s why we support AB5: It aims to stop employers from misclassifying workers in order to stop those workers from forming unions and improving their lives.”

Bobby Olvera, Jr Vice President of ILWU International 

The American Trucking Association’s “Transport Topics” reported that more than 70 trade associations representing wide-ranging supply chain interests have sent a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom asking him to issue an executive order to temporarily pause enforcement of the state’s AB 5 contractor law.

The letter, signed July 11 by trade organizations representing interests ranging from trucking and retail to agriculture and business, also asked Newsom, a Democrat, to immediately call labor and industry to the table “to negotiate a path forward to preserve small business trucking in the state of California and prevent further disruptions to the supply chain.”

Stas Margaronis
Stas Margaronis

WEST COAST CORRESPONDENT

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