A convoy of truckers protesting the California’s “gig economy” law, AB 5, caused a large traffic jam on Wednesday at the crucial Long Beach-Los Angeles port facility, which has been the bottleneck in national supply chains in recent months.
The controversial law, backed by powerful labor unions, sought to reclassify many independent contractors as employees, which meant that some workers enjoyed greater benefits, but many workers saw their hours cut or were laid off altogether.
As the Port Technology news website reported, the law has gone into effect since the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to it in June. Tens of thousands of truckers who work as independent contractors are outraged — hence the protest:
An injunction in place since 2020 has prevented the law from being enforced; however, on 30 June the Supreme Court declined a petition brought forth by the California Trucking Association (CTA), upholding the full enforcement of the law.
“The frustration with the total lack of regard by the state of California for a business model that has provided thousands of men and women an opportunity to build and grow a business is now blatantly obvious,” reads a statement from the Harbor Trucking Association.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t matter how many independent drivers stood up and expressed concerns during the legislative process for AB5 in 2019, they were basically ignored and essentially told by the governor and the legislature what was best for them and their families.”
The traffic jam took place when a convoy of trucks fanned out across the 710 freeway, the Los Angeles Daily News reported:
The truckers drove slowly over the Vincent Thomas Bridge between Long Beach and San Pedro, then made their way north on the 110 Freeway before ultimately circling back southbound on the 710 Freeway.
The convoy of dozens of trucks dramatically slowed traffic on the northbound 110, but the route remained open, according to the California Highway Patrol. As the convoy moved south on the 710, drivers fanned out across all lanes, bringing traffic to a crawl.
The convoy was part of what is believed to be an anticipated 24-hour work stoppage.
The port has been a flashpoint for controversy in recent months. Last year, a record number of cargo ships were forced to wait at sea because the port was at full capacity, causing nationwide supply chain shocks. That jam has eased — thanks in part to a slowdown in the Chinese economy — but threatens to resume. One factor in the crisis was a shortage of truckers.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.