Port of Oakland urges truckers to not impede supply chain

July 25, 2022

Mark Schremmer

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Editor’s note: Reports of the protest ending began at approximately 2 p.m. Central time. We will update the article as we get more confirmation.

The executive director of the Port of Oakland is urging truck drivers to halt any protest activity that disrupts the supply chain.

Hundreds of truck drivers have been protesting California’s Assembly Bill 5 for several days, forcing the port to shut down some of its gates and terminals.

“We support your First Amendment right for peaceful demonstration. However, as we discussed, even before your demonstrations began, the supply chain locally to globally was already congested,” Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan wrote in an open letter to truckers. “We respectfully ask that each independent owner-operator cease any further protest activity that disrupts port operations and the flow of commerce at the seaport.”

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.

Freight stoppages will do more harm than good, Wan said.

“Prolonged stoppage of port operations at Oakland for any reason interferes with commerce, increases congestion, and harms business for everyone,” Wan wrote. “Disruptions in truck movements and moving cargo drive customers away and prompt them to consider taking their business to ports outside California. We do not want to see the loss of business and jobs here. The Port of Oakland is a major economic engine for Northern California, and we want to keep our jobs here.”

The port has set aside specific areas for truckers to public express their opinions. All protesters will be directed to Free Speech Zone areas so that no vehicles will obstruct any entrances or exits to terminal operations.

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

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 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 that 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

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Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.