Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Trucker Strike

Since we've moved to Oakland, and since I've been working for the Trib, I've found that Oakland is a city chock full of stories.

Within Oakland lies the Port, one of the five largest ports in the country, and within the Port, are a host of even more stories. The trucking industry is a large part of the Port, and because truckers have primarily become independent contractors (because companies realize they can save a few bucks by hiring freelance truckers rather than employ truckers and pay benefits...), there are now a ton of inequities that fall into the trucking industry. Each morning, independent truckers wake early so they can be at the Port before dawn, waiting in line for a job. Most of these jobs barely cover the cost of gas, let alone maintenance and upkeep of such a large vehicle. There is no union for these independent truckers, and furthermore, they are the most diverse group of workers: the majority are immigrants hailing from all parts of the world, so they all speak unique languages and little English, which makes it even more difficult to try to organize them. At any rate, a couple of months ago, they went on strike for a few days to try to get higher wages.

This is an image from one of their strikes. This man angrily waves his fist at a trucker driving by who is obviously not participating in the strike, and therefore breaking the solidarity.

Photo by Alison Yin

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