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Terminals at third-busiest California port resume regular hours after protest

Maersk Emerald Container Ship
Posted at 7:18 PM, Jul 25, 2022

California's port of Oakland, the state's third busiest, resumed normal operating hours at marine terminals there after police and port leaders were able to end a week-long protest by independent truck drivers demonstrating against new California legislation commonly known as the "gig worker" law.

Those against the law, formally called AB5, say it makes it harder for businesses that depend on freelance workers to classify them as independent contractors.

The demonstration stranded cargo at warehouses and on ships as the U.S. continues to battle ongoing supply chain issues, Reuters reported.

Police were involved during the days-long demonstration as they restricted those protesting to what was labeled "free speech zones," while threatening to cite violators who didn't stay in those areas while protesting.

Bill Aboudi owns a trucking company and supports the protesters. He told Reuters, "There are some protesters out there, but they're in the penalty box."

The port of Oakland is said to contribute some $56.6 billion to the California economy.

"We have five days worth of work, technically six days of work, that we're supposed to be doing in one day. It's not gonna happen," Aboudi said.

As the legal website describes it, California's AB5 "gig worker" law, which took effect in the state on Jan. 1, 2020, "dramatically" changed rules that employers follow in deciding which workers are deemed employees and who is considered an independent contractor.

Even if an employer is based in California, the law only applies to workers in California.