OAKLAND, Calif. - Truck drivers in Oakland said they are walking off the job on Monday to protest State Assembly Bill 5. They said the bill takes away their ability to work as independent contractors and forces them to become employees.
The protest could last for multiple days. The owner of a local trucking company told KTVU people need to know how the bill is impacting California’s truck drivers.
"Most of the truckers in Oakland are independent contractors. That means they own their own trucks, they drive their own trucks," said Bill Aboudi, owner of AB Trucking.
A protest happened in Los Angeles last week, and now it’s happening in Oakland. Independent truck drivers are protesting, working to shut down port operations and jam traffic because they said Assembly Bill 5 is going to put them out of business.
"We’re going to try and take care of our customers as best we can, but the port will not be operating. Owner operators have made it clear that the port will be completely shut down to send a message," Aboudi said.
AB 5 was passed back in 2019. Its goal was to ensure more CA workers are protected and provided with insurance and other benefits by corporations. But the truckers said now under AB 5, they are no longer in control and must work for someone else.
"These are independent, small businesses that choose to operate their own trucks and now that right is taken away from them. They do pay taxes, they do have insurance. It’s their choice to do that," Aboudi said.
He said most trucking companies start with independent drivers with their own truck and now building a trucking company in CA could be in jeopardy.
"These guys are very hard workers. They were classified as essential workers. They worked through the pandemic, kept everything moving, and now they just need attention to keep their livelihood moving," Aboudi said.
Aboudi also said this bill may ultimately make supply chain issues even more complicated if drivers with their own trucks are not able to work in California.