Trucker Protest Shuts Down Operations At Busy California Port

On Wednesday, the Port of Oakland’s cargo operations were practically halted due to a trucker protest against a state labour law.

Shipping terminal operations have been asked to restart after port officials said in a statement that the stoppage would “further worsen the bottleneck of containers.”

Hundreds of independent big-rig truckers have taken part in a protest that began Monday at the port, which is one of the country’s top 10 container ports, according to the port’s website.

In the meantime, supply-chain concerns have been exacerbated by the protests, which have resulted in cargo ship traffic jams and stockpiled commodities on the dock at major ports.

Retailers are stocking up on fall holiday and back-to-school merchandise while toymakers are entering their best season for imports at this time.

A gig economy rule passed in 2019 made it more difficult for employers to designate workers as independent contractors rather than employees, who are entitled to minimum wage and benefits such as workers’ compensation, overtime, and sick pay. The truckers are protesting this.

According to an appeals court decision from last year, 70,000 truck drivers might be considered employees of the corporations that hire them rather than independent contractors under federal law.

A “huge victory” for underpaid truckers, according to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. California Trucking Association stated that the law would make it more difficult for independent drivers who own their vehicles and operate on their schedules to make a living if they were categorised as employees by the statute, which they sued.

The court struggle had put a halt to the law’s implementation, but the Supreme Court of the United States recently chose not to revisit the judgement.

Now, truckers are requesting a meeting with Governor Gavin Newsom to discuss the problem.

State enforcement of the statute, which is currently being litigated in lower courts, has not yet been announced.

There was no quick response to messages sent to the governor’s office and the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.

When asked by CNBC if it was time to move forward and “compliance with the law,” Dee Dee Myers replied, “It’s time for us to work together to establish a fairer and more sustainable industry for all.”

Managing container traffic, much of it originating in Asia, has already proven to be a challenge for ports throughout the world. During the COVID-19 epidemic, cargo traffic to ports dramatically decreased. This was followed by a rapid resurgence.

A statement from Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan stated, “We understand the protestors’ dissatisfaction voiced at California ports. If California’s ports are shut down for an extended period for whatever reason, it will hurt all of the businesses that rely on them, resulting in even more market share losses for California ports.

As a major distribution centre for California’s agricultural products, the port handles a wide range of commodities.

It’s no secret that the supply chain is already in disarray. Agricultural Transportation Coalition Executive Director Peter Friedmann told the Wall Street Journal, “This is a tremendous disruption.”

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