The third-busiest seaport in California was blocked by truckers opposing the state’s new gig worker law for a second consecutive day on Thursday. This threatened to create supply chain delays in the United States and halted agricultural shipments.
According to port spokesman Robert Bernardo, the owner of the Port of Oakland’s main marine terminal shut down the facility on Thursday while some on-ship work was being done at the three other marine terminals.
Since Monday, independent truckers have blocked port truck traffic and picketed terminal gates in opposition to California’s new labour law, technically known as AB5.
Supporters claim that AB5 wants to crack down on labour violations and force employers to invest in drivers as employees, allowing these individuals to join unions and engage in collective bargaining with employers.
The bill was a victory for unions, but large rig drivers strongly disagree, claiming it would make it too expensive for any of them to stay independent and would force them to work for the firm instead.
Governor Gavin Newsom of California is being urged by activists and the trucking business to postpone enforcing the law. The protesters, whose rally slogan is—the freight won’t flow until AB5 goes—according to some organisers, won’t disperse until they have shared a mutual view with Newsom.
The governor’s administration rejected the proposal on Thursday, saying that nobody should be taken off guard by the rules of the nation. The business community and its allies should concentrate on aiding this change.
Just before trucker protests started, the 8th most sought-out U.S. container seaport—a crucial hub for agricultural trade—was already attempting to clear a pandemic-related cargo backup. Beyond truckers, the repercussions of the occasionally heated protests are already being felt.
A veteran vice president of the National Milk Producers Federation and U.S. Dairy Export Council, Shawna Morris, had said of the embargo that it’s not a good idea to simply write this ordeal as a one-off.
Due to container shipping companies’ preference for more lucrative, pandemic-driven shipments from Asia to the United States, dairy farmers, and many other food producers have had difficulty getting their products onto the water.
The typhoon that the sector has been attempting to weather for the past nearly two years has now added a tornado, according to Morris.
Additionally, it makes things more difficult, the Warehouse Union and the International Longshore (ILWU), are currently engaged in crucial labour contract talks with terminal operators in U.S. West Coast ports. The ILWU, which supports AB5, said that its longshoreman members stayed inside the barricade line for their safety.
Farless Dailey, the leader figure and president of ILWU Local 10 commented that they are never planning on endangering their members to travel through the route of truckers.
In the last three days, Dailey added that they have despatched 450 workers who may not have been able to get in to shift freight for a day, and they don’t get compensated when they couldn’t get in.
Ships can’t move when lorries and dock employees aren’t moving cargo, which causes the port to back up and increase hazards for shippers who depend on the port.
At this period of the year, Oakland exports $1.86 billion each month. Agricultural items, which make up two-thirds of the value of those, and perishables will be the most negatively impacted by the closure, according to Jock O’Connell, an international trade advisor at consulting firm Beacon Economics.
This imperils the $20 billion+ agricultural export market for California, along with exports of everything from nuts and wheat to powdered milk and alcohol.
According to Joe Schuele, the spokesman for the U.S. Meat Export Federation, the $18 billion pig, and beef export business from the United States is also running out of time.