Trucker protest over gig worker law shuts down operations at California port

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OAKLAND, CA – Truck drivers protesting state labor laws are shutting down cargo operations in the Port of Oakland, it was announced Wednesday.

“The closure will further exacerbate container congestion,” a port statement said, urging port officials to resume operations at shipping terminals.

The protest, which began on Monday, involved hundreds of independent large truck drivers who halted the movement of goods to and from terminals at the port, which is one of the country’s busiest container ports, according to its website.

There was no immediate information on when the protest would end, but it exacerbated supply chain problems that have already led to traffic jams for cargo ships at major ports and cargo stowage at the pier.

The protest comes as toy makers and other industries enter peak import season as retailers stock merchandise for the fall holiday and back-to-school items.

Truck drivers protest Assembly Bill 5A temporary labor economy law passed in 2019 that made it difficult for companies to classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees, who are entitled to minimum wages and benefits such as workers’ compensation, overtime and sick pay.

Federal Court of Appeals Rule Last year, that law applied to about 70,000 truck drivers who could be categorized as employees of companies that hire them rather than independent contractors.

The International Brotherhood of Truck Drivers called it a “big victory” for exploited truck drivers. But the California Trucking Association, which sued the law, argued that the law could make it more difficult for independent drivers who own their own trucks and work their own hours to earn a living by forcing them to classify as employees.

The legal battle has halted enforcement of the law, but the US Supreme Court decided last month that it would not review the decision.

Truck drivers are now asking Governor Gavin Newsom to meet and discuss the case.

Meanwhile, there was no information on when the state could start implementing the law, which is still disputed in lower courts.

Letters seeking comment from the governor’s office and the governor’s office for business and economic development were not immediately returned Wednesday evening.

Director of the Office of Business and Economic Development, Dee De Meyers, sent an email CNBC It is “time to move forward, comply with the law, and work together to create a fairer and more sustainable industry for all.”

Ports are already struggling to handle container traffic, most of which are from Asia. distance covid-19 pandemic In 2020, the movement of goods to the ports has significantly decreased. But then it recovered and has thrived ever since.

“We understand the frustration expressed by protesters in California’s ports,” Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan said in the port’s statement. “But a prolonged cessation of port operations in California for any reason will injure all port operators and cause California ports to suffer further losses in market share in favor of competing ports.”

While the port handles many different types of cargo, it is an important distribution point for California’s agricultural products.

The supply chain is already in crisis. Peter Friedman, executive director of the Agricultural Transportation Coalition, told The Guardian The Wall Street Journal.

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