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Port Of Oakland Truckers Vote To Strike

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Lines at the Port of Oakland. (CBS)

Lines at the Port of Oakland. (CBS)

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A group of Port of Oakland truck drivers pushing for better pay and other changes voted Friday to stop work at the port on Wednesday, officials said.

The Port of Oakland Truckers Association, a group representing around 350 truckers, said members voted unanimously for the work stoppage Sunday after meetings with Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and other officials failed to achieve any changes.

The truckers are unable to form a union, as the port considers them independent contractors rather than employees.

The association is asking for truckers to receive their first rate increase in a decade, and for a congestion fee of $50 per hour to be paid to truckers asked to spend more than two hours waiting in line to pick up a load.

Perhaps more importantly, the truckers are asking for an extension on a looming deadline to comply with new state regulations that require them to upgrade their trucks, and a green emissions fee paid to truckers to offset the cost.

“On Jan. 1, 800 port truckers will lose their jobs when new state regulations go into effect, preventing them from working at the port,” the group said in a statement.

“The majority of truckers have purchased new trucks, which cost between $50,000 and $80,000, and many are applying for microloans to pay loan agreements on upgraded trucks just to keep working,” the statement read.

Port officials have said the deadline to upgrade equipment is part of regulations that have been in the works since 2007.

According to the port, more than 71 percent, or approximately 4,250 trucks that serve the port, are already in compliance with the exhaust requirements.

The group previously stopped work on Oct. 21, and said the tactic was effective in persuading officials to meet with representatives, but did not result in any of its demands being met.

The group said it is unclear how long members will stop work this time.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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