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.
VOTE TO SUPPORT BILL H.R.756
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.