Independent truckers who began protesting a California gig economy law on Monday have blockaded the Port of Oakland, pledging to continue until Gov. Gavin Newsom meets with them about their concerns.
Port officials announced that the truckers 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.”
One shipping terminal, the Oakland International Container Terminal, shut down operations Wednesday due to the protests.
The truckers take umbrage over Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), a 2019 law that makes it harder for employers to classify workers as independent contractors instead of employees. A federal judge ruled that the bill applies to 70,000 California owner-operator truckers.
The protest stems from independent drivers being able to own their own truck and make their own hours. Owner-operator drivers make up the majority of truckers in California, and they do not want to become employees or join a union in order to work.
AB Trucking owner Bill Aboudi is one of the protesting truckers.
“It seems the governor is not concerned about taking American workers’ rights away. These are independent, small businesses that choose to operate their own trucks, and now that right is taken away from them,” Mr. Aboudi told CNBC.
AB5 has not yet been implemented due to legal challenges, but enforcement can now begin because the U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to review the issue, according to The Associated Press.
Dee Dee Myers, director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, said in an email to CNBC that “it’s time to move forward, comply with the law and work together to create a fairer and more sustainable industry for all.”