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Truckers Shut Down Port of Oakland in Protest of Gavin Newsom’s Labor Law as California’s Supply Chain Goes from Bad to Worse

Independent truckers shut down the Port of Oakland as a protest against a labor law signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Since Monday, California truckers have been blocking access to the Port of Oakland with a protest against Assembly Bill 5 (AB5). The truck drivers successfully stopped operations at the Oakland port from Wednesday through Friday.

The Port of Oakland said in a Wednesday statement, “Trucker protests that started Monday over the implementation of AB5 have effectively shut down operations at shipping terminals at the Port of Oakland. The shutdown will further exacerbate the congestion of containers dwelling at the Oakland Seaport as port officials urge terminal operations to resume.”

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10 president Farless Dailey told CNBC, “Every day, ILWU workers are getting up at 5 am to drive to the dispatch hall and fill jobs at the port. But when they get to the terminals, the trucker protests are creating conditions which make it unsafe for workers to pass through the gates and do our jobs.”

The protest has caused containers to back up, exacerbating the ongoing supply chain issues in California.

“Currently, import containers are sitting at the Port of Oakland for more than two weeks,” said Josh Brazil – vice president of supply chain insights at Project44. “Due to a lack of intermodal capacity, dwell times exceeded 10 days even before the AB5 protest. Those containers will now spend even more time in port due to the restrictions against independent truckers.”

The Port of Oakland offered the truckers a “Free Speech Zone” where truckers could “publicly express their opinions” without disrupting shipping operations.

A spokesperson for Newsom’s office issued a statement to CalMatters on the trucking situation, “California is committed to … ensuring our state’s truck drivers receive the protections and compensation they are entitled to. This administration has employment tax incentives, small business financing, and technical assistance resources to support this essential industry. The state will continue to partner with truckers and the ports to ensure the continued movement of goods to California’s residents and businesses, which is critical to all of us.”

The protest has caused some shipping vessels to skip the Port of Oakland entirely. The extra vessels are clogging other California ports such as Los Angeles and Long Beach.

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