Oakland, Calif., port truckers gather support

oakland_1114Oakland, Calif. — More than 200 truckers, their families and local supporters of the Port of Oakland Truckers Association gathered at Middle Harbor Park in the Port of Oakland for a cookout on Nov. 2. Local port truckers and International Longshore Warehouse Union Local 10 members addressed the crowd, and nearly $1,000 was raised for a strike fund. Independent operators are legally prohibited from forming a sanctioned union, but Oakland owner-operators have formed POTA to organize and bargain for better conditions and compensation.

A Nov. 4 POTA press release explains the current need for support: “In what organizers are calling a ‘major escalation,’ the City of Oakland has filed suit against two owner-operator truck drivers for alleged participation in a work stoppage at the Port of Oakland on Aug. 19 of this year. Attorney Dan Siegel will appear for them at court today in a preliminary hearing.

“After truckers shut down the port a second time with pickets on the morning of Oct. 21 and followed with a major slowdown for a second day … Oakland Mayor Jean Quan requested a meeting with representatives for the Port Truckers to persuade them to return to work.

“Mayor Quan asked for 10 days in which to pull together a meeting to discuss Port Truckers’ demands with Port commissioners, legislators, and members of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), but has not contacted them since to schedule such a meeting. Now, 11 days later, at least two representatives are being sued for unlimited damages exceeding $25,000. Port of Oakland truckers are some of the lowest paid port drayagers in the country.”