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East Bay | Labor & Workers

Port of Oakland Truckers Assn. Send Formal Demands Letter to Mayor, Port, PMA, CARB
by Elizabeth Flynn
Monday Nov 25th, 2013 9:10 AM
"The inaction of all parties addressed in this letter lead us to believe that there are no intentions to agree to any of the items that we need."
Port of Oakland Truckers Association
2777 Middle Harbor Rd
Oakland, CA 94607


Chris Lytle, Executive Director of the Port of Oakland
Mary D. Nichols, Chair of the California Air Resources Board
Cestra Butner, President of the Board of Port Commissioners
James C McKenna, President and CEO of the Pacific Maritime Association
Jean Quan, Mayor of Oakland


Dear Mr. Lytle, Ms. Nichols, Mr. Butner, Mr. McKenna, and Mayor Quan:

We appreciate the opportunities that we have had to meet and discuss the problems that we face working at the Port of Oakland. We were especially grateful for the opportunity to present to you our immediate concern that as many as 800 of our fellow drivers may not be able to continue to work at the Port of Oakland after January 1, 2014. We had high hopes that you and the entities that you represent would help us find solutions to the problems that plague our members.

Immediately, we had hoped that CARB would grant an extension to the deadline requiring us to upgrade our trucks to meet emission standards that are unique to trucks that service the Port of Oakland. Many of our members have not been able to find financially viable avenues to secure the trucks that would allow us to continue working. The financial burden is unjustly placed on us. Our portion of the revenue we receive that is created at the port is not nearly enough to place this burden on us. The funding options previously available proved difficult for our members to access. Many of us found that the conditions placed on receiving the funding made it inadequate to offset the costs to us. Absent an extension, funding from CARB, Port of Oakland, City of Oakland, or PMA in the amount of $25,000 dollars per truck (without conditions) would be adequate for our members. We had been told that an amount that would cover that cost has been reallocated to a funding program for road trucks. We believe that it is within your power to make that funding available to us and ask you to do so.

A further method of offsetting the continuing costs which we have been unfairly burdened with into the future is the implementation of a Green Emissions Fee. This is a fee of $50 per load paid to the trucker which enables them to afford the maintenance, upgrades, and inspections required to continue being compliant. We believe that it is in the power of the Port of Oakland and the Pacific Maritime Association to implement this fee.

To address the issue of congestion at Port of Oakland, we would like to see the implementation of a Congestion Fee of $50 per hour paid to any trucker that is forced to wait more than two hours to pick up a load. We are powerless to change the conditions that create the horrible congestion at the Port of Oakland and it is unfair that we are currently unpaid for all of this time. If we worked for a wage, this would be considered wage theft. Our main interest in the implementation of this fee, however, is to encourage efficiency at the Port of Oakland. If the time that we are required to idle in line at the port is decreased, so are the pollutants that are emitted by our trucks. We want to be able to get in and out of the terminals quickly in order to earn money and also to limit our own exposure to the harmful environment at the Port of Oakland. There are many ways that we believe the Port of Oakland could become more efficient including hiring more Longshoremen per shift as well as adding and upgrading port equipment such as transtainers. The layout of the terminal entrances could also be reengineered to increase efficiency. We are the victims of the Port’s inefficiency and should be compensated for the encumbrance.

Regrettably, there has been no agreement reached on any of the items that we raised. In fact, there have been no offers of any kind that we could present to our membership. The City of Oakland has started legal proceedings against two of our members while claiming to be working to bring us solutions. The inaction of all parties addressed in this letter lead us to believe that there are no intentions to agree to any of the items that we need.

We do not want to refuse to work or to protest at the Port of Oakland. We want to work and we need to work in order to provide for ourselves and our families. Under the current conditions and upcoming hardships, that is not possible. The parties addressed in this letter have forced truckers to take action that we would prefer to avoid. It has been proven to us that the only time any of those addressed here have been willing to listen to us has been when we spoke by protesting and withholding our labor at the Port. It has been made clear to us that we need to speak louder.

We encourage all parties to agree to the following items in writing by 5pm, Tuesday, November 26 in order to avoid a work stoppage by the Port of Oakland Truckers Association:

1) A one year extension or unconditional funding in the amount of $25,000 per truck to become compliant with CARB regulations
2) Implementation of a Green Emissions Fee of $50 per load paid to the trucker
3) Implementation of a Congestion Fee of $50 per hour whenever a truck waits an excess of two hours to pick up a load
4) An end to any and all retribution against our members including dropping the injunctions and any other legal proceedings directed toward our members.

We hope that there can be a resolution that allows us to continue to work and provide the service that allows the Port of Oakland to operate. We are prepared to stop work and protest at the Port of Oakland beginning on Wednesday, November 27 and continue actions until a resolution can be reached.

Sincerely,

The Port of Oakland Truckers Association