Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
Last Wednesday, hundreds of truckers protested at the Los Angeles-Long Beach port, some trucks slowed down traffic on the 110 while others took part by refusing to take on loads.
Their message was timed not just for Los Angeles County voters who backed the leftists threatening to put them out of work, but for retired general Stephen Lyons.
The former general who had served as the Commander of the U.S. Transportation Command had been picked by the Biden administration as its Port and Supply Chain Envoy and was there to see the ports through which much of the country’s international cargoes flow.
The truckers had a simple message for Lyons and his boss, they shouted it and waved it on signs, “No to AB5.” But Lyons had little to offer the independent truckers fighting mandatory unionization by California Democrats and their union allies except, “We need to retain drivers because they’re critical to our economy.”
With 70,000 California owner-operator truckers trying to figure out if they can even work, that’s not likely.
The economic apocalypse arrived some years ago with AB5. Widely hated by freelancers, but championed by unions and their corrupt political allies who run California, the measure effectively made it impossible for many freelancers to continue working in the state.
Assembly Bill 5, originally aimed at Uber and Lyft, missed the two companies when voters agreed to exempt the ride sharing companies from it (however a Democrat judiciary once again decided to attack democracy and illegally overrule the will of the voters) but hit a variety of independent workers. And what happens in California rarely stays in the pyrite state.
While it may make no great difference to the country where freelance programmers or writers live (although California lost a House seat for the first time ever due to its population exodus), the same cannot be said of California truckers who are a crucial part of the supply chain.
Whether your store shelves have anything on them may have been decided by the Supreme Court at the end of June. Overshadowed by more famous rulings on abortion and the EPA, the supply chain may have given up the ghost when the Supreme Court refused to take up AB5.
California Democrats are determined to turn independent owner-operators into employees and union members churning out cash and votes for their political party.
But independent truckers aren’t giving up.
“They just don’t want us little guys to make it,” John Wiggins, an owner-operator told The Trucker. “That is why I am out here protesting. It’s a damn shame.”
Protests at the Port of Long Beach have now been going on for two days and are spreading.
Cindy Perez, a 28-year-old who drives a truck, created a Facebook group to organize the protests. Along with her husband, she printed up t-shirts and put up signs. In interviews, she clearly laid out what’s at stake for drivers should Democrats succeed in crushing them.
When she and her husband worked for a company, they got “paid peanuts, didn’t get to choose our loads, and instead of owning the whole pizza, we only got a slice,” Perez told FreightWaves. “Instead, we worked hard to save our money to become owner-operators and purchase our own trucks.”
That’s not the only time that the American Dream was crushed out of existence in California, but this time it might have consequences for the entire country. Combined with coming railroad strikes by unions and the railroad bottlenecks in the ports quickly becoming disastrous, the already empty shelves and high prices are likely to get even worse.
Transporting goods depends on tens of thousands of owner-operators in the trucking industry.
Bloomberg notes that “more than 70% of truckers serving some of the country’s largest ports — including Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland — are owner-operators” and that “the law comes into effect for truckers in the busiest months of the year as retailers stock up on back-to-school and holiday goods.”
Even before the Supreme Court’s failure to take up the case put the state and the country on the path to more supply chain apocalypses, truckers had been voting with their wheels and relocating out of California. In a tight labor market, they have options, the state doesn’t.
Neither does the country.
After port delays outraged the nation, Biden put on a show of threatened fines and claimed that the problem had been solved, but it’s now almost as bad as it was before. And with the evaporation of the independent owner-operator model, what comes next may be much worse.
But there’s nothing that Biden or Lyons are likely to do about it.
AB5’s missile aimed at freelancers is part of a nationwide mandatory unionization program that is fundamental to the Democrat plan to finance the party and organize activists.
Last year, House Democrats passed a national version of AB5, known as the PRO Act, whose union proponents falsely claimed that it was “protecting the right to organize” when it was actually eliminating the rights of freelancers to work. The only reason that the Democrat majority failed in its bid to eliminate freelancers was because Senator Manchin refused to go along.
Biden, who strongly urged support for the freelancer-busting PRO Act, is not likely to interfere with the determination of California Democrats to cash in by destroying independent truckers.
Not when his political machine and cash flow depends on mandatory unionization.
California’s mandatory unionization is championed by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which prefers to see the elimination of owner-operators and their replacement by unionized wage slaves. And the collapse of the supply chain doesn’t bother them at all.
After the Supreme Court refused to stand up for independent truckers, Teamster boss Jason Rabinowitz called it “a significant victory in the Teamsters decades-long battle against misclassification in trucking.”
It’s unclear if Rabinowitz, a partner in a labor law firm and a visiting professor of labor law, who also has a degree in journalism from the University of Massachusetts, drives a truck. KeyWiki however identified him as the Young Communist League member whose election to a University of Massachusetts student office caused controversy, protests, and lawsuits at the time.
Back then, the Communist Party predicted that Rabinowitz was “the party’s future”.
In a 2010 interview, the alleged former Communist leader denied that he wanted to destroy free enterprise.
“You know, the bogeyman is that everybody wants to tear everything down and turn it into a communist state,” his host asked him.
“We’re not a union that says tear it all down. Unions are a market-based solution to wealth inequality in the context of the capitalist system,” Rabinowitz replied.
Now the Teamsters are eager to tear down the bourgeois owner-operators and independent truckers, and the country’s free enterprise system with it.
When he first ran for office in college, posters were put out reading, “Jason Rabinowitz is president of a Communist youth league. Don’t vote Communist.”
But California and America voted ‘Communist’ as long as it claimed to be Democrat.
And now the Communists are in charge.
“We advocate a socialist society where people own the means of production. The key is peaceful transition,” the Teamster leader had claimed during his Communist days.
The truckers are refusing to go peacefully into the “transition” to unionized slavery. They’re doing what unions only claim to do, fighting for their right to work and earn a living.