Trucker strike at Oakland port enters 4th day, 15 ships wait to dock

Why America's supply chain crisis is about to get much WORSE: 15 container ships carrying tons of essential goods are forced to drop anchor off California coast as Port of Oakland truckers go on strike (which could last months)

  • Trucker blockade at Port of Oakland in California entered its fourth day on Thursday
  • Drivers are protesting state law that will impose new costs on independent contractors
  • Organizers say protests will continue for 'weeks or months' until Governor Newsom agrees to meet
  • Fifteen vessels are already waiting offshore as the strike impacts operations and creates backlogs
  • Oakland is the eighth-largest port in the US, importing a wide range of goods from Australia and Asia
  • Disruption comes as retailers are building inventory for back-to-school season and fall holidays

By Keith Griffith For Dailymail.com and Wires

Published: 15:10, 21 July 2022 | Updated: 21:02, 21 July 2022

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New photos show the growing number of ships waiting offshore as a trucker strike disrupts operations at the Port of Oakland in California. 

The largest marine terminal at the Port of Oakland was closed on Thursday, while the three other marine terminals on the property had some on-ship labor underway, port spokesman Robert Bernardo said. 

At least 15 ships are waiting offshore for a berth, officials said. KCBS Radio reported that the port closure could delay some Amazon deliveries. Amazon did not immediately respond to an inquiry from DailyMail.com. 

The Port of Oakland is a key hub for California's £20 billion-plus agriculture exports, which include almonds, rice and wine, and receives imports from across Asia and Australia. The eighth-busiest U.S. container seaport was already working to clear a pandemic-fueled cargo backup before the trucker protests began. 

Big-rig truckers are blocking terminal gates and preventing truckers from entering the port in protest against a new state labor law that makes it harder for independent drivers to operate. 

The protesters worry that the imminent law, which cracks down on 'gig workers' in an effort to push more of them into full-time employment and unions, will impose hefty costs on them that will slash their earnings. 

Cargo ships wait offshore and shipping containers sit idle at the Port of Oakland on Thursday as a protest disrupts operations./ppTruckers protesting California labor law Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) have shut down operations at the Port of Oakland Cargo ships wait offshore and shipping containers sit idle at the Port of Oakland on Thursday as a protest disrupts operations. Truckers protesting California labor law Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) have shut down operations at the Port of Oakland

Cargo ships wait offshore and shipping containers sit idle at the Port of Oakland on Thursday as a protest disrupts operations. Truckers protesting California labor law Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) have shut down operations at the Port of Oakland

Truck drivers block the entrance to a container terminal at the Port of Oakland on Thursday./ppTruckers protesting California labor law Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) have shut down operations at the Port of Oakland after blocking entrances Truck drivers block the entrance to a container terminal at the Port of Oakland on Thursday. Truckers protesting California labor law Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) have shut down operations at the Port of Oakland after blocking entrances

Truck drivers block the entrance to a container terminal at the Port of Oakland on Thursday. Truckers protesting California labor law Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) have shut down operations at the Port of Oakland after blocking entrances

Truck drivers sit on a barricade as they block the entrance to a container terminal at the Port of Oakland on Thursday./ppAn estimated 70,000 independent truckers in California are being affected by the state AB5 bill, a new labor law Truck drivers sit on a barricade as they block the entrance to a container terminal at the Port of Oakland on Thursday. An estimated 70,000 independent truckers in California are being affected by the state AB5 bill, a new labor law

Truck drivers sit on a barricade as they block the entrance to a container terminal at the Port of Oakland on Thursday. An estimated 70,000 independent truckers in California are being affected by the state AB5 bill, a new labor law

An aerial view of the port of Oakland during the protest, which began on Monday and has grow in size each day An aerial view of the port of Oakland during the protest, which began on Monday and has grow in size each day

An aerial view of the port of Oakland during the protest, which began on Monday and has grow in size each day

Port officials said that there were already 15 container ships offshore waiting to dock Port officials said that there were already 15 container ships offshore waiting to dock

Port officials said that there were already 15 container ships offshore waiting to dock

The truckers are demanding to meet with Governor Gavin Newsom to discuss the law, formally known as Assembly Bill 5, which could soon go into effect.  

'It may go on for a few more weeks or a few more months,' one of the protest organizers, Gary Schergill, told the Wall Street Journal. 'We'd like to have a sit-down.' 

A spokesperson for Newsom told DailyMail.com in a statement: '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.'

'Although it has been the subject of litigation, AB 5 was enacted in 2019, so no one should be caught by surprise by the law's requirements at this time,' the statement added. 

The blockade is exacerbating supply-chain issues that already have led to cargo ship traffic jams at major ports and stockpiled goods on the dock in the past year, an issue that has contributed to soaring inflation.

The protest comes as toymakers and other industries enter their peak season for imports, as retailers stockpile goods for the fall holidays and back-to-school items.

Originally intended to last a few days, the protests in Oakland began on Monday and have grown larger and more disruptive with each passing day. 

Drivers have picketed gates and blocked other truckers from hauling cargo in and out of the port.

Unionized dockworkers, who support the new law, have nevertheless refused to cross picket lines, citing concerns about health and safety.

The protest has already created significant disruptions at the port, which is an import hub for a wide range of goods, including Australian wine and meat, and electronics, furniture and clothing from China, Japan and South Korea.

Shipping containers sit idle at the Port of Oakland on Thursday./ppThe port shut down is contributing to ongoing supply-chain issues Shipping containers sit idle at the Port of Oakland on Thursday. The port shut down is contributing to ongoing supply-chain issues

Shipping containers sit idle at the Port of Oakland on Thursday. The port shut down is contributing to ongoing supply-chain issues

Trucks sit idle as they block the entrance to a container terminal at the Port of Oakland on Thursday Trucks sit idle as they block the entrance to a container terminal at the Port of Oakland on Thursday

Trucks sit idle as they block the entrance to a container terminal at the Port of Oakland on Thursday

Originally intended to last a few days, the protests in Oakland began on Monday (above) and have grown larger and more disruptive with each passing day Originally intended to last a few days, the protests in Oakland began on Monday (above) and have grown larger and more disruptive with each passing day

Originally intended to last a few days, the protests in Oakland began on Monday (above) and have grown larger and more disruptive with each passing day

The Oakland port is also a key export route for agricultural goods from the US, including almonds, beef and pork. 

Port officials said that there were already 15 container ships waiting to dock as the protest created backlogs. 

SSA Marine, which manages the largest terminal at the Port of Oakland in the San Francisco Bay area, closed operations on Wednesday due to the protests, which ground business at other marine terminals to a virtual halt.

SSA and Everport terminal managers sent International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) dock workers home for safety reasons, a source familiar with the situation said Wednesday.

Late on Wednesday, Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan acknowledged protesters' frustration with California's 'gig worker' law and warned that a prolonged shutdown would 'damage all the businesses operating at the ports' and cause customers to shift cargo to rival seaports. 

The new law, formally called AB5, sets tougher standards for classifying workers as independent contractors.

Trucking industry legal challenges delayed enactment of the law for more than two years, but the U.S.

Supreme Court declined to review the case on June 30, clearing the way for it to go forward.

Backers, including the Teamsters and the ILWU, say AB5 aims to clamp down on labor abuses and push companies to hire drivers as employees - which would enable them to join unions and collectively bargain with employers.

The largest marine terminal at the Port of Oakland was closed on Thursday, while the three other marine terminals on the property had some on-ship labor underway, port spokesman Robert Bernardo said The largest marine terminal at the Port of Oakland was closed on Thursday, while the three other marine terminals on the property had some on-ship labor underway, port spokesman Robert Bernardo said

The largest marine terminal at the Port of Oakland was closed on Thursday, while the three other marine terminals on the property had some on-ship labor underway, port spokesman Robert Bernardo said

Truckers protesting California labor law Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) have shut down operations at the Port of Oakland after blocking entrances to container terminals at the port for the past four days Truckers protesting California labor law Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) have shut down operations at the Port of Oakland after blocking entrances to container terminals at the port for the past four days

Truckers protesting California labor law Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) have shut down operations at the Port of Oakland after blocking entrances to container terminals at the port for the past four days

Truck drivers play soccer as they block the entrance to a container terminal at the Port of Oakland. An estimated 70,000 independent truckers in California are being affected by the state AB5 bill, a gig economy law passed in 2019 Truck drivers play soccer as they block the entrance to a container terminal at the Port of Oakland. An estimated 70,000 independent truckers in California are being affected by the state AB5 bill, a gig economy law passed in 2019

Truck drivers play soccer as they block the entrance to a container terminal at the Port of Oakland.

An estimated 70,000 independent truckers in California are being affected by the state AB5 bill, a gig economy law passed in 2019

Big-rig truckers are blocking terminal gates and preventing truckers from entering the port in protest against a new state labor law that makes it harder for independent drivers to operate Big-rig truckers are blocking terminal gates and preventing truckers from entering the port in protest against a new state labor law that makes it harder for independent drivers to operate

Big-rig truckers are blocking terminal gates and preventing truckers from entering the port in protest against a new state labor law that makes it harder for independent drivers to operate

Some 5,000 truckers work at the Oakland port, which is a major hub for agricultural exports including almonds, rice and wine.

The protests in Oakland followed actions last week at the nation's top two seaports, at Los Angeles and Long Beach in Southern California.

The three California ports handle about half of the nation's container cargo volume.

Meanwhile, there's been no word on when the state might begin enforcing the new labor law, which is still being contested in lower courts. 

On Monday, the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development said: 'Now that the federal courts have rejected the trucking industry's appeals, it's time to move forward.' 

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