For a while now, port truckers have felt exploited by certain companies. Now, a federal bill is is being proposed to increase pay and reduce the exploitation of port truckers.
Port Truckers And The Leasing Dilemma
Port truckers are the first stage of getting goods from the dock to the hands of consumers across the country. They wait at the dock while their trucks are loaded, and then haul products to major distributors. Most of these truckers are independent drivers. In order to get work, many port truckers have to sign on with companies and enter into a leasing program for their vehicles. This creates a problem, because when a vehicle is parked, the driver is not getting paid. Once the vehicle is loaded and the driver delivers the goods to the drop off point, the amount owed for leasing is deducted from the take-home pay. This reduces the earning of port truckers to pennies per hour, in some cases. If the truck needs repairs, the parts and labor are paid for out of the trucker’s pocket, instead of the leasing company. In the worst cases, if a driver leaves or is laid off, the vehicle and all of the money the trucker put into it are kept by the company.
What The Federal Bill Hopes To Do
While the officials in Washington, DC have been leading an effort to roll back regulations in the trucking industry, this new bill hopes to at least look out for the interests of port truckers. The bill wants to remove the leasing requirements places on port truckers, because it amounts to indentured servitude. However, doing this brings up another obstacle. If companies are forced to use fleet drivers or owner operators over independent drivers, then the trucking industry could see a steep drop in job growth. As we have covered in previous articles, the trucking industry is currently lacking in drivers. Requiring companies to use anyone other than independent drivers could spread resources too thin. Additionally, with mandatory ELDs coming into play next month, independent port truckers may see an even further drop in take-home pay.
As things stand, the federal bill to has yet to see much movement, and because it is being introduced at a time when deregulation for the trucking industry is the main drive in Washington, DC, there may be a lot of opposition. As always, we will keep you updated as things progress.