OAKLAND, Calif. — The Port of Oakland resumed normal operations on Monday as owner-operator led protests against AB5, California’s labor law, quieted down.
“All four of our marine terminals are operating normally today,” Roberto Bernardo, director of communications at the Port of Oakland, told Transport Dive on Monday.
Last week, hundreds of owner-operators effectively shut down operations at the port by blocking access to truck gates. But by Thursday evening, many protestors became discouraged after port officials sent a letter threatening a citation for anyone blocking terminal operations.
On Friday, protest plans shifted. “We all ended up deciding that we don’t have that much on our side and we all or [a] majority of us will be going back to work," Japi Samra, an owner-operator for 10 years, told Transport Dive in an email. Some, he added, were also looking to join an association to get better direction, funds, and legal representation.
“A lot things are against us, now if we continue only we will hurt ourselves and port of Oakland business,” Samra said.
Sunil Kamboj, a driver for CPX, told Transport Dive a lack of money was a big factor for many protesters who decided to return to work. “Everybody pays rent for their home,” Kamboj said. Some truckers couldn't risk continuing to protest and not work, Kamboj said, as it would hurt their wallet.
Still, some remained committed to continuing the protests, though they avoided interrupting operations. Bernardo said the protesters on Monday were in “free speech zones,” set up at a distance from any terminal gates.
There were “no more than 40 or so demonstrators at any given time, spread out at four different locations within the ports” on Monday, the Oakland Police Department said in an email.