Port strike affects truck drivers

By: Helen Headlee Email
By: Helen Headlee Email

The labor dispute between clerical port workers and managers might seem far away in Los Angeles. But the effects of stalled shipments could drive truckers off the road in Oklahoma.

One trucker has already seen colleagues turn in their keys.

"I do have friends that do go to the port," said truck driver Steve Herbert. "And they have been directly affected in the aspect of a couple of them lost their jobs."

As the dispute rolls on product shipments at the port sit unloaded. This means truckers--who are often paid directly by the freight they haul--have nothing to carry. Today marks day eight of the disagreement, so the effects haven't made the trip across the country yet.

But until both sides come to an agreement, you might see fewer truckers when you're out driving on the roads.

Jeff Jones is Vice President at Large for the Oklahoma Trucking Association, and he said a long-term dispute could cause problems down the road.

"I would think that it would probably have a pretty profound impact because so much is processed in and out of those ports it's almost inevitable," said Jones.

Jones also said short-term effects on Oklahoma truckers are minimal. But not the economic effects: each day of the dispute costs an estimated $1 billion in lost trade. Jones said ships that reroute to a faraway port could require truckers drive more, and drive up the costs of goods. But he also said not to worry.

"If it carries on long enough it could affect everyone, but I just don't see that happening," Jones said.

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