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ATA Opposes HR756- Paying Truckers for Detention Time


By Jason Haggard– Truck Driver Advocate

The American Trucking Association has opted to fight against truck drivers once again just weeks after trying to garner national attention for helping them. The ATA sat back and tried to soak up attention in the national spotlight when it came to Jason’s Law saying that they supported the proposed bill and that they realize that drivers are the most important part of the trucking industry.

Today the ATA is not exactly seeking a national stage as their board of directors voted to oppose a proposed bill, HR 756,to regulate the amount of time that a shipper or receiver can delay a driver. What the majority of the public does not know is that many drivers are not paid for their time spent unloading and loading at a facility, and many of those drivers can be delayed anywhere from 2 to 24 hours. The ATA thinks that it would not be fair to trucking carriers and shippers if these facilities were required to be efficient or be fined. Fines are levied by carriers, brokers, and shippers to drivers who are late for pickup and delivery appointments but they do not feel that they should be held to the same standard.

The following quotes are from members of their board of directors, immediately following is my response to them:

“Federal regulation in this area would directly affect shipping rates and would significantly change the playing field for carriers and shippers,” ATA Chairman Barbara Windsor

It would only affect shipping rates if they didn’t load and unload trucks efficiently.

“ATA and its members value the time of our drivers, [but] federal intervention into this area would have significant impacts on the contractual agreements between carriers and shippers,” said ATA President Bill Graves.

This comment says it all, their concern is the carrier and shipper, they are content with drivers not being paid for their time.

“No carrier wants to see our drivers’ time wasted,” said ATA First Vice Chairman Dan England, chairman and president of Salt Lake City-based C.R. England Inc.

“However, this is not an issue that can be handled with a ‘one-size, fits all’ regulation and as a result is best addressed in contractual agreements between carriers and shippers,” England said

Again we see the concern for the carrier and shipper, this coming from a man whose family company was forced into court so it’s drivers could recover wages owed to them by C.R. England due to their illegal lease practices.

What I would really like to know is how an organization like the ATA can say in good conscience that they really support or care about the welfare or financial well being of truck drivers today. This is just another case of the ATA showing support on the surface while they work behind the scenes to keep drivers locked into a poor business practice.

I openly ask anyone from their board or their membership to defend their actions or even come up with a reasonable explanation how they can say they have the best interests of drivers in mind. I honestly don’t think they can, and I think that they know they cannot do it either. Maybe they should consider changing the name of the organization to The American Truck Carrier Trust, or the Anti Truck Driver Coalition, as it seems that everything they endorse restricts drivers more and opens up more financial windfalls for the carriers and shippers.


To direct the Secretary of Transportation to prescribe standards for the maximum number of hours that an operator of a commercial motor vehicle may be reasonably detained by a shipper or receiver, and for other purposes.

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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

View all posts by Allen Smith →

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14 Responses to ATA Opposes HR756- Paying Truckers for Detention Time. - Post a Comment

  1. Richard Campbell

    I believe drivers should be paid for any unreasonable amount of time spent at a dock;a driver needs to make money and if he is not moving then he is not being paid. We are not out here driving for our health, we have bills and families and it is very unfair not to pay a driver if he is at a dock; it is a case of these companies taking advantage of free labor even if the driver is not doing the loading or unloading.

  2. D R & LA Long

    Various trucking and non-trucking groups claim to be concerned about driver safety (i.e. fatigue). Supposedly, that is why the HOS keep changing. So, why is it not right to pay the delayed driver when the fault for detaining the driver is with the shipper or receiver? It is easy to determine who delayed the driver, so that is the source of the detained pay. It is a really simple solution to a long-standing problem. The drivers give more than their fair share getting the goods from shipper to receiver. When are the shippers, receivers, and carriers going to begin thinking beyond their own checkbooks?

  3. Rick

    I am new at this. How doing one vote for or against bills? Do i write or call a senator, or the house of reps?

  4. Allen Smith

    We ourselves can’t vote on the bill, however, we can call our representatives and tell them that we support the bill and ask them to co-sponsor it.
    The sponsor of the bill is Congressman Peter Defazio ( D-OR)
    Since it is an HR bill “HR 756” you can call your congressman and ask them to support the bill and to co-sponsor it.

    Be ready to explain why you strongly support the bill.

  5. […] ATA Opposes HR756- Paying Truckers for Detention Time ( […]

  6. Linda Sunkle-Pierucki

    The dirty little secret here is that these carriers use the drivers’ unpaid time as a negotiating factor: if nobody is going to charge detention pay, then they can bid a lower rate on the load-under a company that DOES demand detention time. Also, companies that do charge detention usually pocket the majority of it on company drivers-paying them something like $15/ hr after the first two unpaid hours. The ATA knows that if anyone actually starts looking at a driver’s unpaid hours, the next place they’ll look is the unpaid hours the carriers themselves dump on the driver. No-they dont want to go there!

  7. Robin doiron

    i’m sorry, but being detained keeps your wheels from turning, therefore, no paycheck is being earned!! These shippers/receivers need to be held accountable, especially since being held up taps into our 14hr clock!! It’s not like we can use sleeper berth time, like we used to do and stop that clock, and being able to finish whatever drive time was left once you bumped that dock!! It was all supposed to be implemented when the hos changed, but never was!! Ata never has been, nor never will be for the drivers!

  8. Eclipse

    I would like to say this and please don’t take it the wrong way. But as a Black man who has been treated from time to time as a third class citizen and has seen the treatment of everyone from my family member who was beaten to death by memebers in his own platoon to a dear freind who was spat upon just riding down the highway to many of my brothers and sisters who languish in jail due to the power structure in this country stacking the deck against them. Again do not take this the wrong way but I ask you to look deep into the mirror and your own soul and ask yourselves “How does it feel to be treated like those I mentioned? In other words “How does it feel to be treated like a third class citizen? I think you know the answer. And if you think you are more special than those I mentioned the power structure does not think so as it is apparent that they do not give a D*** about anyone or anything except themselves and or profit! Weeee are all third class citizens regardless of skin color we are all the new “N” word in America and especially the Truck driver! We have to deal with Jim Crow laws as Blacks did in the 60’s which is cloaked behind the word “Professional”. Police Brutality is still in play remember the trucker who was shot in the back by the DOT? Remember not too long ago Minnesota played Jim Crow to the T! California still does as do all the west coast states. And what do we do? Argue with each other over the CB and or murder each other just as my people do in the hood! People don’t be embarrassed to march on Washington don’t be embarrassed to strike least of all don’t believe the BS that others say about disagreement between two truckers! Are you afraid of your government like the founders of America? If so then go back and read your history again and you’ll find the answers as to what you should do. If we shut down and the government and or our neighbors demand that we return to work stand your ground and or win them over, wake them up if need be. This financial beating and or sacrifice has gone on for far too long and we must think of ourselves and our families for once. Call your representatives and tell them I am not afraid of you and your goons anymore and I will take you and America down the hole with me if you do not get out of bed with Corporate America! We come first and if we go down first you will go down with us and all your wealth will mean nothing!!!
    If the Moderateor will allow this to be posted please copy and spread the power of truth and strength amongst us for we will need it to take our country back from these evil men and or women who seek to destroy our way of life and our country to sustain their own utopia and at our expense too!!! And we are to just keep our mouths shut and struggle to stay alive??? I don’t think so….
    Freedom for everybody or freedom for nobody!!!

  9. david

    You know its a damn shame that we truckers have to take a stab in the back every damn time our so call government has anything to with us when was the last time our crooked politicians stood up for us. I’m having to wait just like now at the Lowes warehouse in Rockford,il on a ld that was suppose to be ready yesterday. And what’s worst than that is America keeps biting the hands that feed it. I say we go on strike and tell our so called wanna be government screw you for change and lets see how they like getting reamed for a change. Don’t get me wrong I love America but our government truly does suck

  10. Gregbo

    After 24 years in business for myself I was forced by circumstances to get a job and truck driving was one of very few options available to a guy my age. After 6 months I never cease to be stunned and amazed at the ways OTR drivers are exploited by trucking companies. Working 14 hours a day and living in a truck, risking your life and license everyday, exposing yourself to liabilities that can bankrupt you or worse, and suffering indignities that no 16 year old at Taco Bell would tolerate. All for pay that amounts to less than minimum wage without overtime. If Walmart treated their employees the way truck drivers are treated they’d burn down the store and file a massive class action lawsuit. But trucking companies have managed to exempt themselves from labor laws that protect every other class of employee in most civilized societies. No freight but don’t want to pay unemployment? No problem. The driver can sit at truck stop and starve (happened to me). Driver has been working for 12 hours but spent the last 7 on line 1 sitting at the shipper? No problem. Tell him to log another 3 hours on line one and hit the road (happened to me). Sleep? You’re a truck driver you better not need much. Drove from 6 A.M. to 2 P.M. but dispatch doesn’t have a load? You can drive again at midnight (happened to me). Arcadian clock? You’re a truck driver, work when we tell you to or you don’t get a paycheck.

    The HOS rules attempt to ensure that drivers are sufficiently rested before they start driving an 80,000 lb. vehicle around kids, grandmas, and the rest of the public. But the trucking companies use every trick in the book to move freight as quickly and cheaply as possible and damn the driver. All of this is a numbers game to the big carriers. Not paying detention, running their drivers without sleep, etc. allows them to underbid freight. The cost is their astronomical employee turnover rates and insurance costs due to exhausted, desperate drivers wrecking expensive equipment and injuring themselves and the public at large. But in the end it’s the driver who is likely to pay the highest price and there’s always another sheep in line waiting to be slaughtered.

    Thanks to government regulation, and/or lack thereof, trucking companies are able to shift most of their risk onto their driver employees. The most amazing thing to me about trucking is that most drivers I’ve met not only accept the status quo, they actually argue against things like changes to HOS which would give them a shorter work day and more rest. Again and again I hear “that’s just truckin'”. How about “that’s just serfdem” or “that’s just indentured servitude” or “that’s just slavery” ?

    The current economy has created a large pool of desperate people entering the trucking industry. Due to new CSA rules, those with clean records will have no problem finding a “job” with one of the mega carriers. One can only hope that these new drivers will demand compensation commensurate with their work and risk. Yes, actually compensating drivers on some minimal level will drive up the cost of goods sold but a helluva lot less than a 50 cent increase in the cost of diesel fuel.

    I’m not a fan of unions or government regulation because both create protected classes able to exclude small businesses from the marketplace. The best thing about trucking as I see it, is that one person willing to invest the time and money can buy a truck and start a business and make a decent living at it on the cheap. But employee drivers are exploited in ways that drive down the cost of freight and lower the standard of living for all drivers.

    Virtually every other group of workers in the U.S. has some kind of advocacy group lobbying on their behalf from Wall Street executives to illegal migrant farm workers. But those who drive for the large carriers are currently without any organization or protection of any kind. They do not benefit from anyone lobbying on their behalf or demanding even minimal protection from predatory corporations for whom they function as little more than a machine that can be turned on or off dependent only on the profitability of the next load. Because trucking is largly exempt from labor law in the U.S. there is little incentive for attorneys to represent drivers either as individuals or as a class. The only groups who might be described as lobbying on behalf of company drivers are “safety advocates” who are resisted by the drivers themselves. It’s time to organize and advocate on our own behalf. Any ideas out there?

  11. […] 1)      Carrier does not charge shipper ( in order secure negotiation of load) therefor does not pay driver ( Company driver) Here is a comment supporting this which was made on a post back in 2011 ATA Opposes HR756- Paying Truckers for Detention Time   […]

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