Protests by truckers in California have come to a close, but the results will impact operations at the Port of Oakland for at least a few weeks, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).
The protests: Since early July, truckers protesting the implementation of California’s AB5 law, which establishes new regulations related to the definition of independent contractors, shut down the port by blocking its gates. The protesters stood down on Monday, though the effects of AB5 continue to threaten trucking operations at America’s largest West Coast ports.
- The Port of Oakland is the eighth largest container port in the country and the third busiest on the West Coast.
- Workers at the bustling port were moving cargo from ships into the yard, but because protests blocked the port’s gates, the containers couldn’t be picked up for delivery.
The issue: “Some of an estimated 70,000 independent truckers in California say they prefer to work as what the sector calls owner-operators but that the law [AB5] would make it prohibitively expensive to remain independent,” according to the Journal.
The next steps: Officials are now working to clear significant backlogs of ships and boxes that have grown since the truckers began their protest last week.
Why it matters: Challenges facing the trucking industry have real impacts on manufacturing competitiveness. Policies that hurt the independence of the trucking industry or make the cost of operating a truck more expensive can impact the economic success of manufacturers and truckers alike.
What we’re saying: “AB5 will drastically alter trucking operations across California, eliminating a significant portion of available trucks and truck drivers for businesses that rely on a functioning national shipping supply chain,” said NAM Director of Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy Ben Siegrist. “The NAM has been opposed to this policy since implementation of the bill was delayed during the appellate process, and we’ll continue working with industry allies and policymakers to shape a stronger supply chain marketplace.”