Dateline: New York/New Jersey
February 24, 2011
Dozens of port truck drivers were joined by community and environmental activists today for an action at Port Authority headquarters on Park Avenue.
Port truck drivers organized an action during a Port Authority board meeting to draw attention to a deeply flawed truck replacement program which, instead of reducing toxic diesel pollution, will instead force almost 700 port truckers out of work on March 1st. Rather than requiring trucking companies to invest in clean trucks and reduce diesel pollution, the Port Authority’s policy requires low-wage port truck drivers to take on huge loans in order to keep working.
Protestors chanting “Good Jobs! Clean Air!” could be heard 15 stories up in the Park Avenue board room where Port Authority commissioners were holding their monthly meeting.
While the protesters marched outside, a port truck driver and a resident from the port-adjacent Ironbound neighborhood in Newark, delivered testimony inside to the board of commissioners and demanded that the Port Authority adopt a real clean truck program, that puts the responsibility of cleaning the air on the shipping and trucking companies that profit from the system.
“It’s a shame to have these sweatshops on wheels going through our neighborhood and polluting our air,” said Brad Kerr a community activist in the Columbia Waterfront neighborhood of Brooklyn. “We’re here to support [port truck] drivers and get clean trucks!”