OAKLAND, California – Truckers protesting a state labor law essentially shut down cargo operations at the Port of Oakland on Wednesday, it was claimed.
“The stoppage will increase the container backlog.” “and port authorities are asking shipping terminal operations to restart, according to a port statement.
Hundreds of independent big-rig truckers have stopped cargo flow in and out of terminals at the port, which is one of the top ten busiest container ports in the country, according to its website.
There is no hint on when the protest will finish, but it is worsening supply-chain concerns that have already resulted in cargo ship traffic bottlenecks at key ports and stockpiled commodities on the dock.
The protest comes as toymakers and other businesses prepare for peak import season as merchants stockpile products for the autumn holidays and back-to-school supplies.
The truckers are protesting Assembly Bill 5, a 2019 gig economy law that made it more difficult for businesses to designate workers as independent contractors rather than employees, who are entitled to minimum wage and benefits, including workers’ compensation, overtime, and sick pay.
Last year, a federal appeals court found that the legislation applies to some 70,000 truck drivers who can be categorized as employees of corporations that hire them rather than independent contractors.
It was dubbed a “major win” by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters “for mistreated truck drivers The California Trucking Association, which sued over the rule, contended that requiring independent drivers who own their own vehicles and work their own hours to be classed as workers would make it more difficult for them to make a living.
The court struggle slowed the implementation of the statute, but the United States Supreme Court recently chose not to revisit the judgment.
Truckers have now asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to meet with them to discuss the situation.
Meanwhile, no indication of when the state would start implementing the law, which is still being challenged in lower courts.
Messages left with the governor’s office, and the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development were not responded to by Wednesday evening.
Dee Dee Myers, the head of the business and economic development office, told CNBC that “it’s time to go forward, comply with the law, and collaborate to establish a fairer and more sustainable sector for everybody.”
Ports are already straining to handle container traffic, much of which comes from Asia. When the COVID-19 epidemic hit in 2020, freight traffic to ports plummeted dramatically. But it soon rebounded and has been thriving ever since.
“We understand the demonstrators’ displeasure at California ports,” Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan stated in a statement. “However, a protracted halt of port operations in California for whatever reason will harm all firms operating at the ports and lead California ports to lose market share to other ports.”
While the port handles a variety of goods, it is a significant distribution hub for agricultural products in California.
“The supply chain is already in trouble.” The Agriculture Transportation Coalition’s executive director, Peter Friedmann, told the Wall Street Journal, “This is a major upheaval.”