The ability to get fair compensation for all work performed as a truck driver is under attack in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Aviation Innovation, Reform and Reauthorization Act, HR4441, is a bill that, obviously, largely deals with authorization and reform of aviation programs. Nestled in the legislative language is a provision pushed by large motor carriers. That provision would have a far-reaching, negative effect on the way truck drivers are compensated, according to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.
Section 611 was inserted in HR4441, dubbed the AIRR Act for short, in response to a U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit decision that upheld meal and rest break pay for employee drivers in California.
If the bill is passed with Section 611 intact, motor carriers would only have to pay drivers on a piecework or per-mile basis. Gone would be any chance at pay for detention time, safety inspections, paperwork, or any other work-related tasks that do not involve racking up miles. It would also gut the ability of states to individually address these sorts of issues in the future, according to OOIDA.
The language is similar to an amendment that Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., attempted to get included in the highway bill, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act or FAST Act. OOIDA successfully fought to prevent the amendment’s inclusion into the final bill signed into law in December 2015.
“This language is going in the exact opposite direction of where having a viable, professional workforce of drivers needs to be,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said. “The greatest inefficiency in trucking today is drivers’ time being squandered in required work-related activity that’s not driving. This is not about growing a professional workforce of drivers. It’s about institutionalizing a system for legitimate work to be forever donated.”
The lack of congressional discussion on the issue provides reason for pause as well, according to Spencer.
“This is not a provision that proponents are saying exactly how it would play out, what problem it fixes. It’s not been subject to any hearing, any discussion,” Spencer said.
OOIDA issued a Call to Action mobilizing members as well as their friends and families to call lawmakers in the U.S. House to oppose Section 611.
Spencer said time is short to let lawmakers know that truck drivers are opposed to not being compensated for work performed – all work performed.
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