This letter is to address the purpose of the Port of Oakland Trucker Association protest and work stoppage at the Port of Oakland on August 19 2013. On August 14, 2013, a letter was hand delivered to Mayor Jean Quan’s office notifying her of our intent to protest several work related issues. This letter went unanswered. Mayor Quan’s inaction left us no choice but to carry out our protest. We have since made contact with the Mayor’s office and established a trucker’s task force that has conducted weekly meetings with Port of Oakland staff, terminal management, motor carriers and all stakeholders. We have shown our ongoing commitment to be open to communication. Unfortunately, the time has come for us to resume our protest. We will do so beginning October 21, 2013, should no agreeable solutions be in place by October 18, 2013.
1. Owner Operators request green emission fees payable directly to owners of 2007 epa compliant trucks in order to offset additional monthly expenses of at least $1500 due to the California Air Resource Board implementation of stricter regulations for trucks that operate in California ports. A refusal of financial compensation will lead to under-serviced trucks traveling down our highways, putting public safety at greater risk of injury or death.
2. Owner Operators request grant funding for truck upgrades or temporary extensions. Currently, trucks that operate port and rail service in California represent 5% of the trucking community, yet fall under more stringent emission regulations that hold us 100% liable for improving air quality. More lenient rules for the other 95% of the trucks in the state allow them until as late as 2022 to meet these same standards. According to reports published, due to port trucks installing filters on their trucks in 2010 (at cost of $20,000 each), as well as truck upgrades, we have surpassed expectations to the point that we have nearly met the higher standards in place for 2020. Without compensation or an extension, several hundred owner operators and their family’s health and welfare will be threatened due to them being put out of business.
3. Owner Operators request a congestion fee. SSA’s recent merger of three terminals has caused excessive waiting time. There is now a minimum of three hours and up to seven hours of unpaid wait time. For this, we are requesting that a congestion fee be implemented so that we are paid for waiting time. It is our belief that a fee places the burden where it belongs, on the terminal owners, to find solutions and become more efficient. Besides the wages that we are losing, there have been multiple accidents involving trucks due to the congestion. Our stance on the merger of terminals is that our safety and service have been sacrificed due to ongoing congestion that, we worry, will ultimately lead to injury or death. We are also concerned with the negative impact that the SSA terminal merger has had on those that do business at this facility. This has also compromised the health and welfare of neighboring communities by causing trucks to idle for hours while trying to off-load and pick-up containers, as well as idling for hours while entering and exiting terminals. The long hours required inside the SSA terminal, without access to restrooms, is inhumane and has put a burden on truckers to find ways to dispose of their waste. More transtainers and more calls for ILWU workers could help solve this problem.
4. Owner Operators are requesting motor carriers to increase their rate of pay as well as pay for services we provide (such as flips). It is easily understood that our rates have not increased in nearly ten years but our cost of doing business has more than doubled.
The Port of Oakland Trucker Association is committed to making a sustainable living.