Reports from Northern and Southern California this week found hundreds of justifiably angry independent truckers protesting the state’s independent contractor law, Assembly Bill 5, at the state’s busiest ports.
“A group of truckers protesting a state law limiting the use of independent-contractor drivers held a convoy protest through the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex on Wednesday, July 13, snarling some traffic in the area,” the Los Angeles Daily News reported.
“California truckers turned off their trucks, blocked terminals or staged slow rolls to snarl traffic around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach Wednesday to express frustration over a controversial state law, AB5, that seeks to limit the use of independent contractors and largely classify them as employee drivers,” FreightWaves reported. “Port of Oakland truckers plan a Monday demonstration against the independent contractor law.”
“The intent of this self-serving piece of legislation is to deprive 70,000-plus small business trucking companies of their ability to earn a living in this state,” said Gordon Reimer, manager of Southern California-based FHE Express.
He is right. AB 5, written by the AFL-CIO, is a union sponsored law that redefined millions of independent contractors as employees. AB 5 was authored by former Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego). Gonzalez, a community organizer and activist, as well as a union official with the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO, prior to being elected to the State Assembly, resigned in January from the Assembly to take a leadership position in the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, after delivering millions of reclassified gig workers as potential union members.
As the Globe recently reported, “The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear the California Trucking Association’s petition in the case regarding California’s Assembly Bill 5 independent contractor law. The decision could force California’s 70,000 independent truck owner-operators to stop driving in the state, which is already suffering from supply-chain backlogs.”
And who can forget the Daily Mail article from 2021? “California ports that move 40% of cargo coming into US are rated among the WORST behind third-world countries like Kenya and Ghana.”
“Gasoline has been poured on the fire that is our ongoing supply-chain crisis,” the California Trucking Association said in a statement following the Supreme Court’s decision to deny a judicial review of a decision of a lower court, a process known as certiorari, Bloomberg reported.
“In addition to the direct impact on California’s 70,000 owner-operators who have seven days to cease long-standing independent businesses, the impact of taking tens of thousands of truck drivers off the road will have devastating repercussions on an already fragile supply chain, increasing costs and worsening runaway inflation,” the California Trucking Association said.
The CTA is right, and they have been all along. However, this is a crisis created by the California Legislature and Governor, and can and should be reversed by the Legislature and Governor …unless this is the desired outcome.
During an interview Wednesday with KABC radio host John Phillips, we discussed what the loss of 70,000 independent truckers could do to the already backlogged supply chain, and how it could become an interstate commerce issue very quickly.
This is a legal mess made by the State of California, its lawmakers, and State Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court is right by bouncing the case right back to the state to live with or solve, as it has done recently with Roe v. Wade, and even with Biden v. Texas.
And with the Supreme Court denying the case, it may be up to impacted states to take legal action against California when the delivery of goods grinds to a halt because of the loss of California’s 70,000 independent truckers.
According to PortTechnology.org, as of 2021, the top five ports in the United States are:
1. The Port of Los Angeles
2. The Port of Long Beach
3. The Port of New York and New Jersey
4. The Port of Savannah
5. Northwest Seaport Alliance (Seattle/Tacoma)
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