OAKLAND -- Several dozen truck drivers at the Port of Oakland protested for a second day Tuesday, but without the disruptions that forced the closure of a major terminal Monday.
Independent truckers demanding compensation for hours-long waits and new air quality requirements again picketed at the entrances to the sprawling SSA Marine terminal. But this time they were ignored by crane operators and other terminal workers represented by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union who crossed through the truckers' protest line and went to work, allowing commerce to continue.
Port spokesman Isaac Kos-Read said all terminals were "open and operational" Tuesday, even though some truckers were refusing to haul cargo in and out of them. Those truckers did no damage because "there's more truckers than there is work," Kos-Read said.
The protest was organized by the Port of Oakland Truckers Association, a group trying to band together drivers who own and operate their own trucks. They want compensation -- and a bathroom -- while forced to wait hours outside terminals they say do not have enough workers to keep cargo moving swiftly. They also want to delay, and get help paying for, new state requirements to upgrade trucks to pollution standards.
Hindering the protest's impact Tuesday was its lack of support from the ILWU, the union representing port workers. To the chagrin of protesters, union leaders crossed through the picketers on Monday night and encouraged their workers to keep the terminal running. The union could be fined for an illegal work stoppage if it refused to go in.
The truckers, shunned by some because they have resisted union recruitment, argue they cannot legally unionize because they are independent contractors.
Among those who say they were hurt by this week's protests were San Joaquin Valley farmers trying to get nuts and fruits to Asian ports. One Stanislaus County walnut processor told The Modesto Bee on Monday that protest-related delays were "killing us right now."
"We've got walnuts coming out of our ears, and we can't get them shipped," Ron Martella of Grower Direct Nut Co., near the city of Hughson, told the Modesto paper.