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Reports That Oakland Port Labor Fiasco Is Over: “A Lie” Say Wine Country Shippers

Despite  some reports that the Port of Oakland fiasco has ended, a number of angry wine country shippers, their customers and others say that is simply not true.

“It’s a lie,” said George Francis, the owner of Billet Transportation who hauls for a wide number of customers including Barrel Builders, Taransaud, and Francis Frere among others.

A Major And Urgent Concern

“This is a major and urgent concern to wineries all over,” said Phil Burton, owner of Barrel Builders. “I currently have four containers of barrels at the port — some for Napa chard which is being picked now. I have no idea of when they’ll be available for pickup. I got one container yesterday but the pick up of another was cancelled this morning.”

Other wine country supplier are urging wineries not to wait until the last minute to order heavy, bulky items like barrels which must go by sea because of shipping costs.

Two-Mile Back-Ups, Two Weeks To Get A Container

“There are two-mile truck back-ups at the first-come, first-serve terminals, “said Francis who  added that it often takes two weeks to get a container once it has been offloaded.

“Nothing was ever solved,” Francis added. “The terminals, which are run by the shipping lines, refuse to hire enough labor to get the job done. And labor is upset about that, and make like they’re working when they’re not going at the pace they were before the  whole fiasco began.”

Francis said that, before the dispute, “we could get in and out in an hour or two. Now it takes six to eight hours — when we’re lucky enough to get in.”

Truckers Turned Away By Limited Port Hours

While on the phone with Wine Industry Insight around 4:45 p.m. Wednesday,  Francis got notification that one of his truckers who had been in line since 1 p.m., had been turned away when the gates closed for the day.

Big Labor, Big Corporations Ruining Workers And Small Business

“It is worth noting that major ports and terminals work 24-hours-per-day rather than keeping bankers’ hours,” said the owner of a small Vallejo import company with three employees.

“The slowdown and unwillingness by labor and management has totally screwed us and a huge number of other small Bay-Area businesses. We’re dying here … been squeezed between the incompetence of Big Labor and Big Corporations.”

F**k them both.

“The unions are so F***ing self-righteous about how they help the working person,” said an independent owner-operator trucker. “But here they are in league with big business to put people out of work and small businesses out of business.  They’re both stealing my rent money and food for my kids.”