California seaport truck blockade in day five, food products in peril

July 23, 2022

By KAREN VELIE

Independent truckers are blocking access to the Port of Oakland for the fifth day in protest of California’s “gig worker” law. The blockade is delaying the transportation of perishable food products such a beef, pork and dairy items.

Supporters of AB 5, a state labor law that requires companies reclassify independent contractors as employees, contend the law will help hinder labor abuses. The law requires companies to pay truckers minimum wage and provide workers’ compensation and other benefits.

On the other side, independent truck drivers, of which there are about 70,000, argue the law forces them to pay hefty equipment and insurance costs, which in the past trucking companies covered. These cost could easily run more than $20,000 a month forcing these small contractors to work as employees.

Union representatives argue that the truckers can then join a union and fight for higher pay and more benefits.

Meanwhile, some shipping companies are talking about moving their business to states such as Virginia or Georgia, where they do not have to contend with blockades and trucker shortages.


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smile

This AB5 just stinks. The powers that be wanted it to apply to commercial fishing also. There is no such thing as an eight hour day on a boat. We fought it and finally got an exemption. I still just shake me head on this one. Can you imaging being in the fish and having a deck hand tell you, “Oh it’s time for my lunch. I’ll be back” or I’ve worked eight hours and I need to go home.” At the end of a week long trip, 24/7 what the overtime would look like? Gig work is gig work and these “one size fits all” just don’t fit ALL. I don’t know enough about independent trucking and I have a very strong feeling our government doesn’t either. Independent truckers, you keep fighting to do what you feel is best for your business.


And for the love of God, can we just vote Common Sense to get this state back on track?


Rambunctious

More evidence that the USA is headed in the wrong direction…. we must change direction and the current leadership…..


varian08

Hello truckers against ab 5.

You want to spend 12 hours a day for under minimum wages: go ahead

You want to drive with bald tires because you do not have money for a new set: go ahead

You want to wait hours to be unloaded without being paid: go ahead

You want to pay thousand of dollars a year for your truck: go ahead.

I am union. Home every night,medical for the whole family and have a retirment plan


You can not help people who do not want to help themself


Adam Trask

Well said, the middle class in this nation was built by unions. As union membership has declined, so has the middle class. It always breaks my heart when I come across someone my age working at a fast food joint or 7-11 because their SS just isn’t enough.


However, this bill was badly constructed and its original intention was to keep Uber, Lyfft, DoorDash, etc. from ripping off their workers. It’s side effect, unfortunately, is to throw the Cali trucking sector into chaos. It will most certainly have to be amended.


Jorge Estrada

I support the will of the many and more should do the same to protest communistic legislation being forced on us. It’s ok to be independent although I have been UNION for over 50 years. Now that I have precipitated above the illusion of the middle class I can safely say that it was good and even better is the choice to go further. Better said is to embrace your UNION but fight for your right to be independent.


Adam Trask

What, now? I have no idea what your point was. Sorry.


Anyway, AB5 is not “communistic.” It was originally intended to force big business, such as Uber and Lyftt to hire their employees permanently. The definition of an independent contractor is that they do one or more services for a variety of clients. Many lawyers, especially those who work for a variety of clients are usually independent contractors, unless they work for a firm of lawyers. Most defense lawyers are independent by the nature of their work.


Uber and Lyfft drivers are not independent because they only work for those companies. Now, a taxi driver, who owns his business, is an independent contractor, but Uber and Lyfft drivers work solely for an outside company that provides them with “gigs.”


While those companies were making billions in profits (Uber founder Travis Kalanick is worth $2.7 billion), the drivers were making pennies, and those that did it full time—about 80%—also qualified for California EBT benefits. Shameful. Unfortunately, Uber and Lyfft spent $224 million and bought an election with non-stop misleading commercials two years ago and so did not have to comply with AB5.


That decision showed the total schizophrenia of the California voter who would elect a strong legislature that was out to protect workers and then thwart that body’s ability to do so.


Most “independent contractor” truck drivers basically end up running freight for only one or two companies, thus, they should simply be hired and paid fair wages with benefits. Shippers, however, don’t want to do that, because the reality of today’s supply chain is that truck drivers often have to wait several hours between unloading and loading. Most of them don’t get paid for those hours. Additionally, they don’t get benefits, like paid vacations, health insurance or pensions. Instead, they are paid “by the mile” or “by the load” which is often a bargain for the shipper.


It is, again, one more way that the upper classes in this nation have sucked the life and money out of the middle class. Being a truck driver used to be a good profession that would help raise a family and provide for retirement. It no longer does so. The broad spectrum of truck drivers in the U.S. today are immigrants who want to establish themselves in the economy and are thus willing to be paid less.


AB 5 may have been constructed poorly, but the proper sentiment was in place. Just think how well truck drivers might do if they all unionized and forced trillion dollar companies such as Walmart and Amazon to pay their drivers a fair wage, rather than a wage that might force them to take on other jobs on the side.


nunsense

“ Union representatives argue that the truckers can then join a union and fight for higher pay and more benefits.”

Why was the bill passed? There’s your reason.


SLO Thought

It appears the State of California continues

to squash the little guy in favor of big business. Is that what we voted for when we voted Democrat?

I thought we were all in favor of the ‘Little Guy’….Apparently Not

Go Figure


JThomas

Looks like you already figured it out! Well most of it. You left out they’re for big Government and lots of taxes to support it!


kayaknut

More like in favor of union leaders, they used union dues to buy Newsom and are demanding a return on their purchase, AB5.


matthwy58

Here we go again sending industry out of California.


MrYan

Wouldn’t that be…shipping them out in this case :-(


info

To bad there is no choose to opt out provision.


panflash

“Meanwhile, some shipping companies are talking about moving their business to states such as Virginia or Georgia, where they do not have to contend with blockades and trucker shortages.”


Well, now THERE’S a great big frickin’ surprise, huh ?