OAKLAND, Calif. — Independent truck drivers protesting high diesel prices held up freight in California ports Friday.
A Union Pacific Railroad spokesman said the protest had substantial impact on its operations at the Port of Oakland. Earlier in the week, a similar protest in Stockton reduced volume 80 to 95 percent. The protest also snarled morning commuter traffic for miles on Interstate 5 south of Los Angeles when truckers parked or jackknifed three big rigs, then sped away in a car. Other trucks slowed on Highway 110 between downtown Los Angeles and the ports, causing minor traffic delays, authorities said.
The drivers say they haven’t had a pay increase in more than 10 years while the price of diesel fuel has climbed from $1.05 to more than $2.30 a gallon (prices in U.S. dollars). They want their trucking companies to negotiate higher rates with terminal operators that will cover the higher fuel costs.
“This is not a business any more,” Ruben Lopez, an owner-operator from Newark told the San Franscisco Chronicle. “We’re just making enough money to cover our bills.”
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