Trucker protest shuts down Port of Oakland

2022-07-23 12:40:42 By : Ms. Coco Yang

The latest breaking updates, delivered straight to your email inbox.

A trucker protest has shut down operations at the eighth largest port in the country: the Port of Oakland.

Truckers are protesting Assembly Bill 5, a state labor law that requires companies that hire independent contractors to reclassify them as employees. But an estimated 70,000 truckers don't want to become employees or part of a union to be able to work.

They have been out on the picket lines all week, effectively shutting down the port, and putting even more pressure on the supply chain.

Avanti Nut Company, which exports all their product through the Port of Oakland — 85% of it going outside of the U.S. — is one of the businesses feeling the impact.

While Nina Solari, vice president of food safety and quality control is concerned about shipments that didn't go out this week, she also empathizes with the drivers.

"If they say, 'I don't want this product,' then we have to take this product back, box it in all new boxes because other customers aren't going to want all those card markings, and then, on top of that, resell it at a lower price," Solari explained about how their business is jeopardized when they can't meet the delivery deadline in their contracts.

The fortunate thing for her company, Solari said, is the time of year this protest is happening. So far, their number of overseas shipments is small, but she's concerned if this were to happen again anywhere between October through March, the company's busiest shipment time.

The Stockton-based company houses all their product in its warehouse, saving them some money, but other business owners are concerned about the fees they're incurring as their containers are offloaded onto the dock and not picked up.

Others impacted are truck drivers themselves. Juliette Roberson is just four months into her new job as a truck driver and is concerned about what this protest means for her finances. She had a delivery due by the end of the day Friday at the Port of Oakland.

"The way my pay works is if I don't make a load, I don't get paid, so it would affect me if I can't get in or miss other loads," Roberson said.

She's also concerned about her safety, which is a feeling shared by the trucking company that Avanti Nut Company works with. Solari said they're not willing to attempt picking up or dropping off shipments as the protest is ongoing.

About 94% of the trade at the Port of Oakland is done internationally.

A spokesperson at the Port of West Sacramento told KCRA 3 that they have not seen a major impact and are receiving shipments daily.

The Port of Stockton has seen a transition shipment. Nearly 200,000 tons of what would have been container cargo last year, has shipped out of containers – products like steel, fertilizer, and pet resin. A spokesperson said that a long-term shift would be a lot more cargo outside of containers sent to the Port of Stockton.

Hearst Television participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites.