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From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Port Of Oakland Truckers Shut Down Multiple Terminals During Morning Shift
Press Release regarding today's strike and port shutdown.
Monday, October 21, 2013 – Hundreds of independent truckers with over 100 public supporters turned out at the Port of Oakland this morning at 5a.m. in protest of escalating costs for truckers and deteriorating conditions on the Port.
Oakland Port Truckers have formed the Port of Oakland Truckers Association (POTA) to organize for better conditions and compensation. Over a hundred truckers met on Friday and unanimously voted to shut down work today.
Owner-operator truckers are demanding that terminal owners, who make massive profits each year, offset the expense of costly upgrades needed for trucks to be in compliance with new environmental laws by paying a fee of $50 for each load. Truckers are also asking to be paid when they are forced to sit in long lines waiting for cargo loads for two hours or more. They can wait in lines up to 8 hours, which limits the amount of loads they can haul in a day and requires them to burn fuel, which they pay for. With the new SSA merger of multiple terminals on the port, congestion is at an all-time high, while SSA has only hired 20 new Longshoremen to alleviate Port traffic. Workers say they have not had any increase in pay since they last shut down the port nearly 10 years ago, while gas has more than quadrupled and maintenance costs have soared. In 2004, a coordinated work stoppage by independent truckers in Los Angeles, Oakland and Stockton had similar demands.
Starting at 5a.m. today, truckers staged picket lines at multiple terminals, and asked the public to support them at the largest, SSA. Alameda County Sheriff Deputies attacked picket lines, injuring at least two, and forced many picketers onto the sidewalk. They cited a law prohibiting people from blocking thoroughfares and a restraining order from the Port and City of Oakland, but Dan Siegal, a lawyer with the National Lawyers Guild who was onsite, confirmed that the pickets were legal and neither the law cited nor the restraining order were grounds to deny the truckers the right to picket.
Labor arbitrators refused to rule the police presence and pickets were a safety hazard to ILWU Longshoremen, but the Longshoremen refused to cross the picket line and went home for the day. The ruling means they will not be paid. The two largest terminals were shut down, and multiple smaller terminals were disrupted or shut down.
Port Truckers will be returning to the Port at 5:30p.m. to shut down the evening shift, and are asking supporters from the public to join them again at the SSA Terminal at 1717 Middle Harbor Road.
*The Port of Oakland Truckers Association is a self-organized group of owner-operator truckers, formed to unite owner-operator truckers on the Port of Oakland so that all Port truckers have the opportunity to make a sustainable living. *