Independent truck drivers during an August protest at the Port of Oakland. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)
Independent truck drivers during an August protest at the Port of Oakland. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)

Several hundred independent truckers at the Port of Oakland are serving notice that they’ll stop work as early as next week unless state and regional air regulators give them a break on rules for diesel emissions.

The Port of Oakland Truckers Association announced that members voted unanimously to stop work if their demands aren’t met. Those demands, voiced during a meeting with Mayor Jean Quan and Port Director Chris Lytle last week, include an extension on a Jan. 1, 2014, deadline for truckers to acquire newer, cleaner engines to cut down on the volume of particulates the diesels spew into the air. The association is also asking for an emissions fee of $50 per load for all Port of Oakland truck drivers to help offset the costs of buying and maintaining CARB-compliant trucks.

Officials from the California Air Resources Board say truckers have had years to comply with the law and that there’s no money left to help pay for retrofitting older trucks.

The port truckers group staged protests in August and October that partially shut down Oakland’s cargo operations. In addition to the pollution regulations, they also want the port to agree to pay for time they spend waiting to load or unload cargo. They’re also seeking improvements in working conditions, such as better access to restrooms during waits that can last as long as six hours.

The truckers group says that if it doesn’t get an official response to its demands by Wednesday, it could stop work as early as next week.

Author

Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke (Twitter: @danbrekke) has worked in media ever since Nixon's first term, when newspapers were still using hot type. He had moved on to online news by the time Bill Clinton met Monica Lewinsky. He's been at KQED since 2007, is an enthusiastic practitioner of radio and online journalism and will talk to you about absolutely anything. Reach Dan Brekke at dbrekke@kqed.org.

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