Truckers protest closes the Port of Oakland in California

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Truckers protest AB5 and blockade the Port of Oakland.

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Management of the Oakland International Container Terminal (OICT) closed operations Wednesday at the Port of Oakland due to protests by truckers over California’s AB5 self-employment law.

The Port’s other three marine terminals are also effectively closed to trucks, the Port of Oakland told CNBC, while there are some ongoing vessel labor operations.

This is the third day that truckers have protested California’s temporary worker labor lawwhich was sparked by the rise of temporary economy platforms like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash.

A two-year legal stay was recently lifted because the Supreme Court decided not to hear a case that would have protected truckers from the impact of this law.

AB5 law requires companies that work with independent contractors to reclassify them as employeesbut there are some exceptions in the law in all industries.

Most truckers in California are owner-operators and many in this job category are worried about their future. Approximately 70,000 truckers who own and drive their own trucks would be subject to this law and do not want to become employees or join a union in order to work.

These are the largest trucker protests to date for the law.

CNBC reached out to the governor’s office Gavin Newsom to ask when enforcement would begin, as well as whether truckers have any way to remain independent within the law.

In an email to CNBC, the Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), Dee Dee Myers, stated that with federal courts rejecting trucking industry appeals“it is time to move forward, comply with the law and work together to create a fairer and more sustainable industry for all”.

Gov. Newsom’s office wrote in a separate email to CNBC, “We also suspect the landscape may change (independent drivers become their own authority and/or existing businesses become an employee/driver model).”

At the Port of Oakland, more than 2,100 trucks pass through the terminals each day. It is the eighth largest port in the country and imports a wide range of items, from Australian wine and meat to aluminum from South Korea, furniture from China, clothing and electronics.

The protests, which blocked the doors of the terminal, forced some stevedores to not move through the crowd for fear of their safety. Port workers can refuse to enter a maritime terminal if they feel “unsafe” or in danger in any way”.

Last week, 100 truckers protested at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, but due to the size of the ports, the impact was not as severe as that of Oakland.

An estimated 15,000 trucks pass through these ports daily, more than seven times the trucking capacity of Oakland.

But even with their immense size, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have been severely congested and any disruption to truckers would only add to the massive container congestion.

The closure of the Port of Oakland is contributing to ongoing supply chain problems.

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– California Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit seeking to reverse approval of Proposition 22
– What the passage of Prop 22 means for drivers of Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and other companies

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