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Labor Issues Trouble Transportation

An Oakland, California court was asked to issue an injunction halting the Union Pacific Railroad's practice of using management employees to operate locomotives. If the court favors the request by the United Transportation Union, it could affect train operations and compound the current crew shortage problem, said a report by Morgan Stanley, the North American equity research firm. A decision not to issue an injunction against the railroad practice would lead the UTU and its 14,500 UP members to strike.

Meanwhile, a tentative agreement had not stopped 300 truckers from refusing to haul goods at the Port of Oakland. The independent truckers were seeking a 30% rate hike and a fuel surcharge to cover rising diesel costs. The problem mushroomed as the truckers' protest intimidated and sometimes blocked other drivers.

The Port of Oakland had formed a committee headed by truckers to address their demands. But despite an agreement early in the week of May 3rd, the small group of protestors had continued to disrupt operations late into the week.

On the East Coast, truckers attempted to organize a shut down in Hampton Roads to protest fuel prices, low pay, delays at port facilities, and traffic congestion around the port.

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