California: Protests against Trucker stop working at the port

OAKLAND, California –

Truckers protested a state labor law that effectively closed cargo operations at the Port of Oakland, it was announced Wednesday.

“The closure will further exacerbate the congestion of containers,” and port officials are urging operations at the docks to resume, a port statement said.

The protest that began on Monday involving hundreds of large independent rig trucks blocked the movement of goods in and out of the docks, one of the 10 busiest container terminals in the country, according to the carrier’s website.

There is no immediate word on when the protest might end but it exacerbates supply chain problems that have already resulted in cargo vessel traffic jams at key ports and cargo stockpiling at the berth. .

The protest comes as bread makers and other industries enter peak import season as retailers stock up on fall holiday goods and back-to-school items.

Truckers are protesting Contracts Bill 5, a contract economy law passed in 2019 that makes it harder for companies to classify workers as independent contractors instead of employees, who minimum wage and benefits such as workers’ compensation, overtime and sick pay.

Last year, a federal appeals court ruled that the law applies to about 70,000 truck drivers, who can be classified as employees of the companies that hire them instead of independent contractors.

The international team fraternity called it a “huge victory” for exploited truckers. But the California Freight Association, which has sued the law, has argued that the law could make it more difficult for independent drivers who own their own vans and operate their part of the hour to earn a living. live by forcing them to be classified as employees.

The legal battle has stalled enforcement of the law, but last month the US Supreme Court recently decided not to review the decision.

Truck owners are now asking Governor Gavin Newsom to meet and discuss the matter.

While there is no word yet on when the state may begin to enforce the law, the law is still being contested in lower courts.

Messages seeking comment from the governor’s office and the governor’s Office of Economic and Business Development were not immediately returned Wednesday night.

The director of the office of business and economic development, Dee Dee Myers, emailed CNBC that “it’s time to move forward, comply with the law, and work together to create a fair and equitable industry.” more sustainable for all.”

Ports have struggled to handle container traffic, much of which comes from Asia. After the COVID-19 pandemic began to break out in 2020, cargo traffic to ports dropped dramatically. But then it recovered and boomed ever since.

“We understand the frustration of protesters at ports in California,” Oakland Port Operations Manager Danny Wan said in the port statement. “However, a prolonged shutdown of ports in California for any reason will damage all businesses operating in ports and cause ports in California to continue to lose market share to other ports.” competitive port.”

While the port handles a wide variety of cargo, it is an important distribution point for California’s agricultural products.

“The supply chain has fallen into crisis. This is a major disruption,” Peter Friedmann, executive director of the Agricultural Transportation Alliance, told the Wall Street Journal.

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