Trucker blockade at Port of Oakland

Aug. 28, 2013

Truckers shut down a major terminal at the Port of Oakland (CA) on Aug. 19 to protest repeated logjams that have left them trapped in their trucks for up to six hours while waiting to pick up loads.

The truckers shut down five berths at SSA Marine, which were consolidated last month into a single terminal, per a news report posted by the Contra Costa Times. Longshoremen arrived at work to find truckers blocking the terminal's gates and opted not to cross the picket line, union officials said.

Truckers also blocked other terminals, port spokeswoman Marilyn Sandifur told the Times. It was the port's third work stoppage since July, following two one-day walkouts by longshoremen.

Long wait times for truckers have been a recurring problem at the port. The longest waits recently have been at the SSA terminal, which suffered from a severe cargo backlog shortly after the consolidation in July.

For truckers, most of whom are paid by the load, the long waits cut into profits. Truckers aren't allowed to leave their trucks once in line at the terminals because of safety concerns. Drivers caught outside their trucks are levied $50 fines.

Drivers said they outlined their complaints in a letter last week to Mayor Jean Quan, but the mayor's office had not responded. The port's executive director, Chris Lytle, met with truckers following the blockade to discuss the problem.

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