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Trucker protests subside at Port of Oakland

Owner-operators at the Port of Oakland CA have resumed working after a weeklong protest against stagnant rate increases. Most of the 40 to 45 trucking companies serving the port agreed May 6 with the committee representing the owner-operators to a 20% to 30% rate increase, committee representative Irvin Dhanda said.

“I'd say about 98% of the companies we spoke with agreed to a rate increase — no one said less than 20%,” Dhanda said, expressing confidence that the majority of independent truckers will receive a rate increase.

The rate hikes are being negotiated from company to company, with some of them going into effect immediately. In accordance to antitrust laws, each owner-operator must negotiate with a broker individually, as sweeping rate hikes are illegal. Dhanda said that enough companies have agreed to raise rates to abate the protest.

“I tell the other (owner-operators), if your company doesn't raise your pay, there are others willing to hire with an increase,” he said. “It's no use working with low pay while everyone else has an increase.”

An estimated 100 people protested May 7 until the Port of Oakland obtained a temporary restraining order for interfering with the flow of commerce.

“Things have been quiet so far. There are indications that people are getting back to work, and that trucking companies have resolved their issues,” said Marilyn Sandifur, Port of Oakland spokeswoman. “It sounds like a lot of trucking companies have stepped up to the plate. Some even raised rates by Monday (May 10).”

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