Rep. Jeff Denham (R-California) offered up an amendment to the House’s Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Bill. With this addition, the bill may end up putting the Federal Aviation Administration at direct odds with the Teamsters Union and the trucking industry at large.
The Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act
On the surface, the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act seems beneficial. There are various improvements to airports, the implementation of new technology, and even measures for preventive maintenance. The overall purpose of the FAAAA seems in-line with other federal incentives to improve infrastructure across the board. However, the addition of the Denham Amendment tacks on provisions which are not so friendly to truckers.
The Denham Amendment
The Denham Amendment directly impacts hours of service and payment to truckers picking up or delivering shipment to places that fall under the Federal Aviation Administration. In short, the FAA bill would prohibit enforcing interstate regulations beyond those covered under federal law. In plain English, this means truckers would be stripped of minimum wage protections, so hauling jobs for airports and the FAA could be reduced to the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour. The Denham Amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act would also carve truckers out of unemployment and workers’ compensation, as well as other workplace protections. In essence, the FAAAA would do away with worker protections and make truckers extremely vulnerable to longer hours and potentially abusive and dangerous working conditions. Additionally, this could result in truckers not getting paid for duties performed while not driving.
Sounding The Alarm
The Teamsters, other advocacy groups within the trucking industry, and fleet owners have been signaling for something to be done about the Denham Amendment. For now, people have been contacting their representatives. Currently, no one has gamed out if the proposed amendment would fly in the face of the FMCSA mandate regarding electronic logging devices and hours of operation. Hopefully, the Denham Amendment will be dropped or heavily revised in the near future, because the language threatens to set the progress of the trucking industry back by decades.
The full language of the Denham Amendment to the FAAAA can be found here. As always, Express Freight Finance will keep our readers up to date on any developments on this front.