Trucker protests that started this week at the Port of Oakland – north on the California coast from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach – over the implementation of AB5 “will further exacerbate the congestion of containers dwelling at the Oakland Seaport,” said the port in a statement released on Wednesday.
“We understand the frustration expressed by the protestors at California ports,” said Danny Wan, the port’s executive director. “But prolonged stoppage of port operations in California for any reason will damage all the businesses operating at the ports and cause California ports to further suffer market share losses to competing ports.”
AB5 is a California state law that requires companies that hire independent contractors to reclassify them as employees. Also known as the gig worker law, AB5 was designed to protect the rights of the gig workers of such companies as Uber, Lyft and DoorDash, but its impact on the trucking industry has been a hot issue since it was initiated. It was adopted in 2018 and recently affirmed when the US Supreme Court denied review of the law. About 70,000 truck drivers in California own and operate their own trucks, and they’re making it clear they do not want to become employees.
In a letter to California governor Gavin Newsom on July 14, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said: “We are asking you to announce a delay in enforcement of AB5 in the trucking industry until the state fully considers how the law will affect small-business truckers and provides remedies to ensure independent contractors are not forced to be reclassified as employees.”
“Truckers are vital to keeping goods moving,” said Wan. “We trust that implementation of AB5 can be accomplished in a way that accommodates the needs of this vital part of the supply chain.”