Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dellums, Truckers Push Port on Labor Fight

By Chris Thompson
Tue, Jul 22, 2008 at 8:44 AM

For the last year, truckers who own their own vehicles and contract with freight hauling firms at the Oakland port have been stung by increasing fuel prices, and they've long wanted the firms to hire them as drivers and own the trucks themselves. That way, truckers think, the companies can use their considerably more ample resources to deal with expensive gas, either by eating the fuel costs or replacing the fleet with more fuel-efficient vehicles. So the Trib reports that they've cleverly leveraged the problem of diesel pollution in adjacent neighborhoods, forging an alliance with environmentalists and mayor Ron Dellums. Dellums and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa are now pressuring the Port of Oakland to require freight haulers to take ownership of the rigs and replace the fleet, thereby sparing West Oaklanders from the emissions of older trucks. It smells like a labor fight dressed up in the garb of environmental racism. But ya gotta admit, it's pretty clever.

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