A group representing Port of Oakland truckers said today that it plans to halt work Monday morning to push for better working conditions and payment.

While truck drivers at Oakland are independent contractors and cannot join or form a union for bargaining purposes, a group calling itself the Port of Oakland Truckers Association has formed in response to ongoing conflicts with port management.

“We want to put an end to inhumane treatment,” group member and port trucker Isaiah Thompson said in a statement on Sunday. “We need safer conditions and better compensation.”

They are currently asking for a $50 monthly “green emissions fee” to offset the cost of upgrading trucks to new emissions standards, an extension for compliance with environmental standards set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2014 and a congestion fee compensating truckers for hours currently spent waiting unpaid for a load, as well as an increase in pay per cargo load, the group said.

The group said truckers have not seen any increase in the payment per cargo load in 10 years, while fuel and maintenance costs have increased sharply.

A previous work stoppage on Aug. 19 involving as many as 120 truckers forced some terminals at the port to close temporarily, port officials said at the time.

Following the work action, members of the association met with port representatives and secured an agreement to add portable bathrooms, officials said today.

Calls to Port of Oakland officials were not returned Sunday. Port officials have previously said around 6,800 registered truckers do business at the port.

Sara Gaiser, Bay City News

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