There was a major supply chain disruption on Wednesday after a union walked out of work at the Port of Oakland, causing a domino effect in the normally bustling port.
Many parts of the port remained silent on Wednesday morning, with gates closed and piles of containers and trucks waiting to be loaded.
“Our customers are waiting for deliveries and we cannot make those deliveries,” said AB Trucking President Bill Aboudi. “It just snowballs. Every day we’re closed is like five days of catch-up.”
The protest was sparked by employees representing the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).
Sean Farley, president of ILWU Local 34, said, “It’s a problem not getting paid and everyone deserves the pay they’ve earned and worked for,” adding that “It’s been a huge problem and we’ve dealt with it non-stop.”
He said the stoppage had not to do with a contract dispute, but with more than 200 unpaid wage claims, an issue that has been going on for 18 months.
He hopes the issue will be resolved in the coming days as they work to reach a resolution with the Pacific Maritime Association.
The shutdown of the port quickly triggered problems. Aboudi said his company had to scramble to find places to put all their extra containers.
“That stack of containers behind me shows you how we’re played as workers, truckers, stevedores,” Aboudi said. “We’re caught in the crossfire of these big business cartels doing this and it just has to stop.”
The supply chain shutdown led to the closure of three of the four port terminals, sending many truckers home, some without pay.
“I don’t get paid for the day unless I deliver the load because I get paid per load,” said Michael, a self-employed trucker. “They are literally holding the economy hostage.”
According to the port, the domestic cargo terminal remained open and international terminals will attempt to reopen on Wednesday evening.
But the damage may already be done, with some saying a single day off can mean a week in arrears.
For frustrated truckers, they fear what will happen if companies and unions don’t reach a deal quickly.
“You all need to sit down together, chat as soon as possible so consumer goods aren’t affected by the holiday season here, and get back to business,” Michael said.