Trucker strike at Port of Oakland:15 container ships waiting to dock after four-day closure

Trucker strike at Port of Oakland could go on for MONTHS with 15 container ships already waiting to dock after four-day closure: Drivers demand Gavin Newsom scrap law cracking down on independent contractors

  • Trucker blockade at Port of Oakland in California entered its fourth day on Thursday
  • Drivers are protesting state law that will impose new costs on independent contractors
  • Organizers say protests will continue for ‘weeks or months’ until Governor Newsom agrees to meet
  • Fifteen vessels are already waiting offshore as the strike impacts operations and creates backlogs
  • Oakland is the eighth-largest port in the US, importing a wide range of goods from Australia and Asia
  • Disruption comes as retailers prepare to build inventory for the holidays and back-to-school season

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Truck drivers who are on strike at the Port of Oakland in California say they are prepared to continue their blockade for months if their concerns about a state employment law are not addressed.

The protest at the nation’s eighth-largest port entered its fourth day on Thursday, as truckers demonstrated against a new state labor law that makes it harder for independent drivers to operate. 

The protesters worry that the imminent law, which cracks down on ‘gig workers’ in an effort to push more of them into full-time employment and unions, will impose hefty costs on them that will slash their earnings. 

The truckers are demanding to meet with Governor Gavin Newsom to discuss the law, formally known as Assembly Bill 5, which could soon go into effect.  

‘It may go on for a few more weeks or a few more months,’ one of the protest organizers, Gary Schergill, told the Wall Street Journal. ‘We’d like to have a sit-down.’ 

Truck drivers who are on strike at the Port of Oakland in California say they are prepared to continue their blockade for months if their concerns about a state employment law are not addressed

Truck drivers who are on strike at the Port of Oakland in California say they are prepared to continue their blockade for months if their concerns about a state employment law are not addressed

An aerial view of the port of Oakland during the protest, which began on Monday and has grow in size each day

An aerial view of the port of Oakland during the protest, which began on Monday and has grow in size each day

Port officials said that there were already 15 container ships offshore waiting to dock

Port officials said that there were already 15 container ships offshore waiting to dock

A spokesperson for Newsom did not immediately respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com on Thursday morning.

The blockade is exacerbating supply-chain issues that already have led to cargo ship traffic jams at major ports and stockpiled goods on the dock in the past year, an issue that has contributed to soaring inflation.

The protest comes as toymakers and other industries enter their peak season for imports, as retailers stockpile goods for the fall holidays and back-to-school items.

Originally intended to last a few days, the protests in Oakland began on Monday and have grown larger and more disruptive with each passing day. 

Drivers have picketed gates and blocked other truckers from hauling cargo in and out of the port.

Unionized dockworkers, who support the new law, have nevertheless refused to cross picket lines, citing concerns about health and safety.

The protest has already created significant disruptions at the port, which is an import hub for a wide range of goods, including Australian wine and meat, and electronics, furniture and clothing from China, Japan and South Korea.

The protesters worry that the imminent law, which cracks down on 'gig workers' in an effort to push more of them into full-time employment and unions, will impose hefty costs on them that will slash their earnings

The protesters worry that the imminent law, which cracks down on ‘gig workers’ in an effort to push more of them into full-time employment and unions, will impose hefty costs on them that will slash their earnings

Independent truck drivers gather to delay the entry of trucks at a container terminal at the Port of Oakland this week

Independent truck drivers gather to delay the entry of trucks at a container terminal at the Port of Oakland this week

The blockade is exacerbating supply-chain issues that already have led to cargo ship traffic jams at major ports and stockpiled goods on the dock in the past year, an issue that has contributed to soaring inflation

The blockade is exacerbating supply-chain issues that already have led to cargo ship traffic jams at major ports and stockpiled goods on the dock in the past year, an issue that has contributed to soaring inflation

Originally intended to last a few days, the protests in Oakland began on Monday and have grown larger and more disruptive with each passing day

Originally intended to last a few days, the protests in Oakland began on Monday and have grown larger and more disruptive with each passing day

The Oakland port is also a key export route for agricultural goods from the US, including almonds, beef and pork. 

Port officials said that there were already 15 container ships waiting to dock as the protest created backlogs. 

SSA Marine, which manages the largest terminal at the Port of Oakland in the San Francisco Bay area, closed operations on Wednesday due to the protests, which ground business at other marine terminals to a virtual halt.

SSA and Everport terminal managers sent International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) dock workers home for safety reasons, a source familiar with the situation said Wednesday.

Late on Wednesday, Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan acknowledged protesters’ frustration with California’s ‘gig worker’ law and warned that a prolonged shutdown would ‘damage all the businesses operating at the ports’ and cause customers to shift cargo to rival seaports. 

The new law, formally called AB5, sets tougher standards for classifying workers as independent contractors.

Trucking industry legal challenges delayed enactment of the law for more than two years, but the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case on June 30, clearing the way for it to go forward.

Backers, including the Teamsters and the ILWU, say AB5 aims to clamp down on labor abuses and push companies to hire drivers as employees – which would enable them to join unions and collectively bargain with employers.

Some 5,000 truckers work at the Oakland port, which is a major hub for agricultural exports including almonds, rice and wine

Some 5,000 truckers work at the Oakland port, which is a major hub for agricultural exports including almonds, rice and wine

The new law, formally called AB5, sets tougher standards for classifying workers as independent contractors

The new law, formally called AB5, sets tougher standards for classifying workers as independent contractors

Trucks line up outside the port of Oakland after the port closed under the protest and strike. Independent truckers gathered at the port of Oakland and blocked multiple terminal gates to protest against the state labor law named AB5

Trucks line up outside the port of Oakland after the port closed under the protest and strike. Independent truckers gathered at the port of Oakland and blocked multiple terminal gates to protest against the state labor law named AB5

Some 5,000 truckers work at the Oakland port, which is a major hub for agricultural exports including almonds, rice and wine.

The protests in Oakland followed actions last week at the nation’s top two seaports, at Los Angeles and Long Beach in Southern California.

The three California ports handle about half of the nation’s container cargo volume.

Meanwhile, there’s been no word on when the state might begin enforcing the new labor law, which is still being contested in lower courts. 

On Monday, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development said: ‘Now that the federal courts have rejected the trucking industry’s appeals, it’s time to move forward.’ 

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