Oakland, Calif., truckers authorize strike

Port truckers’ convoy surrounded Oakland City Hall, Nov. 13.Photo: Alice Loaiza

Port truckers’ convoy surrounded Oakland City Hall, Nov. 13.
Photo: Alice Loaiza

After meeting with the California Air Resources Board and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District on Nov. 13, the Port of Oakland Truckers Association held a general membership meeting and “voted unanimously for what amounts to a strike authorization if their demands aren’t met.” (POTA press release)

While the truckers’ association was meeting with CARB, Mayor Jean Quan and Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle at City Hall, over 70 truckers surrounded the downtown plaza in a deafening convoy, honking their horns in support of their representatives. Meanwhile, a group of supporters held a solidarity demonstration out front, handing out fliers on the truckers’ demands.

POTA’s press release explains that its representatives “pushed for an extension of the CARB-enforced January 1 deadline [forcing truckers] to acquire trucks built in 2007 or later in order to continue working at the port. In addition, they requested grant funding to help 800 at-risk truckers offset the financial burden of costly truck upgrades required by current law. CARB denied these requests and claimed the deadline could not be extended and available monies had already been reallocated. Before the meeting ended, Mayor Quan and Director Chris Lytle claimed they would take a look into port and city finances to find funding for POTA truckers.

“To encourage efficiency at the port, POTA demands include a congestion fee of $50 per hour after the first two hours truckers spend waiting in line to pick up a load. The association is also asking for an emissions fee of $50 per load for all Port of Oakland truck drivers to help offset the costs of buying and maintaining CARB-compliant trucks. Finally, the association is demanding transparency in CARB’s relationship with the Port of Oakland, specifically in the enforcement of regulations outlining minimum efficiency of terminal operation.

“POTA representatives have made it clear they expect response on funding from city and port officials by Wednesday, Nov. 20. If they are denied funding again, a work stoppage may take place as early as next week. The group has organized two prior work stoppages since August of 2013.”