Long-Time Truck Driver Talks Demands and Perils of the Job With Secretary Pete
Phoenix, AZ — In a newly released video, a long-time truck driver details some of the demands and perils of operating big rigs in today’s environment.
Maurice Nelson, a member of Teamsters Local 104, has been a professional trucker for 49 years and is employed by UPS.
He recently discussed his experiences with United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Nelson first described the rigors of meeting the increased demand due to the pandemic.
“Well, besides us, FedEx, Post Office, Amazon, we’re all extremely busy,” he commented. “I mean, it’s like Christmas every day and it’s been that way for a couple of years now because people don’t go shopping. They’d rather do it from home or afraid of going out or [they’re] sick or whatever. It’s a lot more convenient. So, we’ve managed to get it delivered, but it’s a busy day.”
“Yeah, no kidding,” Sec. Pete responded. “You’re a driver and you’re basically a store clerk and Santa Claus too, right?”
“Pretty much. Yeah,” Nelson replied.
Operating safely around erratic 4-wheelers was also a topic of conversation.
“A lot of folks may not realize, this is not exactly like driving your car around the neighborhood. A lot more responsibility and a lot more expertise goes into driving these tractor-trailers,” Mr. Buttigieg said.
“Yes, because you’ve gotta watch out for the other guy,” Nelson explained. “I mean, a lot of times people will pass you, get in front of you, and realize, ‘oh, there’s somebody stopped up ahead,’ and we have to be real good at stopping, but now we have the automatic braking which is a godsend.”
The two masked men also chatted about ways to grow trucking’s workforce.
“What do you think it’s going to take to draw more people into the profession?” asked Sec. Pete.
“Well, I think they’ve got to get the wages, they’ve got to get some kind of benefits. I mean, I think that’s where unions come in,” Nelson replied.
Both men also zeroed in on ways to attract more women into the industry.
According to the American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) recently released “Trucking Trends” report, women now comprise 7.8% of the industry’s driving force which represents an all-time high.
Nelson said he hoped more women would pursue trucking as a career.
Likewise, Mr. Buttigieg expressed similar sentiments and blamed a lack of affordable childcare as a reason why more women could be hesitant to get behind-the-wheel.
“I’m a new parent and I’m definitely feeling that, you know, so many people who would like to work, I think, have to think twice about it because they can’t afford childcare, they can’t find pre-K, so it just keeps them out of the workforce,” he said. “There’s millions of people out there, women who would be excellent truck drivers who maybe just haven’t had a chance to enter the workforce.”
Buttigieg then took the chance to promote President Biden’s massive social spending bill — the Build Back Better Act — just approved by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Specifically, the USDOT Secretary pointed to the Child Tax Credit provisions in the BBBA which would expand the maximum credit to $3,600 for children under age 6 and $3,000 for children aged 6-17, and allow for full refundability so families do not need any earned income to receive the money.
“And this may be the chance they get to do it,” Nelson said of the BBBA provisions.
WATCH the full conversation below.