Dockworkers Protest Driverless Cargo Trucks at Port of L.A., Triggering Project’s Delay

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Union members gather at the Port of Los Angeles on March 21, 2019, during an L.A. Harbor Commission meeting over whether to allow APM, which operates the world's biggest terminal, to use driverless electric cargo vehicles. (Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Union members gather at the Port of Los Angeles on March 21, 2019, during an L.A. Harbor Commission meeting over whether to allow APM, which operates the world’s biggest terminal, to use driverless electric cargo vehicles. (Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

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A fierce struggle over automation has erupted at the Port of Los Angeles, as local union officials representing some 12,000 dockworkers demand that one of the world’s largest shipping firms abandon a plan to introduce driverless electric cargo trucks.

Shouting, whistling and jeering, more than 1,200 union members, local business owners and community activists packed a four-hour hearing Thursday before the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners. The board voted to postpone a construction permit for the automated system after an offer by Mayor Eric Garcetti to mediate the dispute.

“The decision before the board may have far-reaching impacts on the pace of automation at our port and could define how the port will compete and sustain jobs into the foreseeable future,” Garcetti wrote in a letter unveiled at the hearing.

The mayor called for a 28-day delay in deciding on the permit, adding that negotiations “should serve as the basis of a new task force to explore automation and its impacts on the future of the Port of Los Angeles and others across the state.”

Read the full story at LATimes.com.

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