(Dan Brekke/KQED)
(Dan Brekke/KQED)

For the third time since August, independent truckers at the Port of Oakland are staging a work stoppage to protest working conditions and the cost of retrofitting their vehicles to meet state air regulations.

Picketing began before dawn, and protesters succeeded in slowing down truck and car traffic around the port. Video from CBS5 (below) shows several dozen picketing truckers and supporters facing off with Oakland police officers assigned to keep the roads around the port clear. The Bay Area News Group reports that police cited half a dozen people for blocking a public roadway.

The Port of Oakland Truckers Association issued a list of demands to officials from the port, city and state earlier this month. Those demands, voiced during a meeting with Mayor Jean Quan and Port Director Chris Lytle, 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 updating vehicles to comply new diesel emissions standards that take effect on Jan. 1.

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.

Raw Video: Truckers Picket, Block Traffic At Port Of OaklandIndependent truck drivers staged a work stoppage at the Port of Oakland Wednesday over air pollution regulations set to take effect January 1st. The truckers say they need financial help upgrading their rigs to meet the new requirement or they will lose their jobs.

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Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage of topics ranging from California water issues to the Bay Area's transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several Web startups.

Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. He has shared in two Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Excellence in Journalism awards — for his 2012 reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California, and in 2014, for KQED's comprehensive reporting on the south Napa earthquake.

In addition to his 44 years of on-the-job education, Dan is a lifelong student of history and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.

Email Dan at: dbrekke@kqed.org

Twitter: twitter.com/danbrekke
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