AB5 protests cause disruptions at Port of Oakland

July 20, 2022

Land Line Staff


Protests over California’s Assembly Bill 5 continue to cause disruptions at the Port of Oakland.

Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, July 20 that the protest forced the port to shut down some of its gates and terminals for a third consecutive day. The Port of Oakland is considered the third-busiest port in California.

Robert Bernardo, director of communications for the Port of Oakland, confirmed with Land Line that there were about 100 protesters on Wednesday. In addition, Bernardo said that the Oakland International Container Terminal management closed operations and that three other terminals were shut down for trucks.

He said the protests have made existing congestion problems at the ports worse.

“We’re hoping these protests reach their conclusion,” Bernardo said. “Any extended closures are costly to port workers and their families.”

The protest follows the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to not hear the California Trucking Association’s case against AB5, which is a worker classification law that makes it more difficult for someone to be considered an independent contractor.

The case

AB5 was passed in 2019, but an injunction prevented the law from being enforced on motor carriers until the Supreme Court’s recent decision.

Many truck drivers, including OOIDA life member Barbara Veit-Harwell, oppose the law, saying they do not want to be classified as employees.

Veit-Harwell and her husband, David Harwell, have been leased on to Landstar for 22 years.

“If we felt we were being taken advantage of, we wouldn’t have stayed with them for 22 years,” she said.

The Supreme Court’s decision kicks the case back to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, which granted the preliminary injunction in 2020.

A hearing is set for Aug. 22.

OOIDA letter

Last week, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association wrote California Gov. Gavin Newsom, asking him to delay the law until truckers receive some clarity.

The letter provides Newsom with some of OOIDA’s reasoning for opposing the law and seeks answers to several questions regarding how the law will be enforced.

Until those answers come, OOIDA requested the governor delay enforcement of AB5 in trucking.

“We are asking you to announce a delay in enforcement of AB5 in the trucking industry until the state fully considers how the law will affect small-business truckers and provides remedies to ensure independent contractors are not forced to be reclassified as employees,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer wrote.  LL