By Lee Hubbard
Black truckers surrounded the Transbay Terminal and then City Hall Monday morning in their trucks to protest the way that San Francisco awards projects that are funded by federal stimulus money.
“This protest is a legitimate way to bring issues forward,” said Joe Debro, head of the Bay Area Black Builders Association. “They are bringing in other truckers from outside the city, and they are not paying prevailing wages.”
The Transbay Terminal will be the site of a construction project that will last for several years, utilizing truckers to haul away the debris and deliver supplies.
The truckers are also protesting the city’s practice of ignoring the prevailing wage agreement for city contracted work, though it is mandated by federal, state and city laws. However, instead of paying truckers by the hour, the city pays by the tonnage or the load. This practice lowers the wages truckers are paid.
“Why should we sit back and allow our work to be dispatched by someone outside of San Francisco, who then dispatches trucks from Concord, Petaluma and Novato,” said truck owner Charlie Walker.
As the protest ended, truckers pledged more direct action to bring attention to issues that they say are directly impacting their businesses.
“This is also happening with other projects,” said Debro. “But the Transbay Terminal is a large project that will be going on for years.”