Protests at Port of Oakland affect traffic, but port remains open

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Port of Oakland saw a cargo slowdown and increased wait times last week after protests from truck drivers about pay.

The port, however, is back up and running normal as of Monday morning, one Port of Oakland spokesman said Monday.

The Port of Oakland Truckers Association, made up of local owner-operators, organized a protest on Monday, Oct. 21. The group reportedly asked for pay and access to bathrooms when they’re made to wait for cargo at port terminals. One report in the San Francisco Chronicle said the drivers want a $50 monthly payment to help them make emissions upgrades to meet state air quality requirements.

Port Spokesman Roberto Bernardo said the height of the protest lasted about one day last week.

“During that time, the Port continued to do everything it can to facilitate long-term solutions,” Bernardo said. “Our executive director sent letters to both trucking companies and terminal operators to encourage them to take a fresh look at compensation structures for truckers in light of the higher costs of trucking port cargo.”

Though the port isn’t a party in the negotiations, Bernardo said it has attempted to bring trucking companies and terminal operators together by holding a Terminal Efficiency Working Group, “which goes above and beyond our monthly Trucker Working Group meetings,” he said.

The Terminal Efficiency Working Group brought together all participants in the maritime supply chain in an effort to address truck drivers’ concerns about congestion, Bernardo said.

According to one report, the port truckers have not been joined in the protests by the ILWU.

“To the chagrin of protestors, union leaders crossed through the picketers on Monday night and encouraged their workers to keep the terminal running,” the Contra Costa Times reported.

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