On May 1, Truckers Movement for Justice (TMJ) – a grassroots labor organization of truck drivers who work in all areas of the trucking industry – brought truck drivers together from across the country in Washington, DC, for a picket outside the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
After having met with senior officials from the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) and US Department of Labor (USDOL) as part of President Biden’s Trucking Action Plan in 2021, and seeing no plan to resolve the many issues they brought forward, TMJ’s May Day picket raised their three main demands once again:
- ALL HOURS WORKED, ALL HOURS PAID: No more free time waiting on the load or maintaining equipment the driver does not own. Minimum industry standards: $45/hour to drivers and $150/hour to trucks.
- OVERTIME FOR ALL TRUCKERS: Remove all overtime exemptions by amending the Fair Labor Standards Act. All workers, including truckers, deserve time and a half after 40 hours.
- ENFORCEMENT OF THE RIGHT TO SEE THE FREIGHT BILL: This is already required by the FMCSA within 49 CFR 371.3 (c) and 49 CFR 376.12 (g). To set fair rates, brokers and carriers must transparently share all billing on every transaction with drivers before the deal is made.
The trucking industry transports more than 70% of the U.S.’s freight by weight. The industry as a whole brought in nearly $900 billion in revenue in 2021 (the latest year for which this data is available), yet many truck drivers find it increasingly difficult to make ends meet and provide for their families. Truckers are often made to wait for hours, unpaid, to pick up loads, and are not compensated for overtime worked. Alongside this, brokers are increasingly determined to drive down working conditions in their quest for profits, and place impossible demands on truckers to deliver loads in periods of time that threaten driver safety.
It is an encouraging sign that throughout the logistics industry, more organization is being built by rank and file workers and more struggle is being initiated from below. Increasingly, truck drivers, railroad workers, Amazon workers, UPS workers, and more are going on the offensive as the corporations they work rake in record profits while driving down working conditions in this sector that the entire U.S. and global economy relies on.
The Southern Workers Assembly pledges our full solidarity to Truckers Movement for Justice as they continue their fight on their main demands and to build power among truck drivers to change the industry. We stand ready to assist in whatever ways we can, and encourage truck drivers throughout the South and the U.S. to get involved with TMJ to raise their voices, take collective action, and transform trucking and the entire logistics industry.