Truckers Pan Biden’s ‘Totally Clueless’ New Plan to Solve Problems Plaguing Trucking Workforce
Washington D.C. — Truckers and some trucking groups are expressing doubts about a new Biden Administration plan to solve workforce challenges plaguing the trucking industry.
On Thursday, the White House unveiled the “Biden-Harris Trucking Action Plan” to help trucking stakeholders better retain and recruit more drivers into the industry.
What’s In The Plan?
As Transportation Nation Network (TNN) reported, the Biden-Harris Plan will be focused on reducing barriers to people obtaining commercial drivers licenses (CDLs), accelerating the expansion of Registered Apprenticeships including swiftly implementing a new teen trucker apprenticeship program, initiating workforce outreach campaigns to veterans, women and minorities, conducting a study to determine the best way to pay truckers to boost retention, and hosting a series of listening sessions where drivers and industry personnel can discuss how best to solve important issues.
Truckers were quick to sound off about the Plan on TNN’s social media platforms.
“I see nothing in this proposal that is going to do anything for ANY truckers true problems out on the road,” Gary Vaughn wrote on TNN’s Facebook page. “What I see is a plan to flood the industry with younger, dumber, inexperienced drivers… good luck with all this. It ain’t gonna work!”
Jeff McCaskey agreed.
“I see nothing in here that solves any problems nor is it even focused in the right places,” he said. “Basically this is a big nothing burger. It’s just optics to make it look like they care or are doing something — when it’s obvious there is nothing being accomplished.”
Independent contractor Wazir Hussain called those who crafted the Plan “totally clueless.”
“Wait, he didn’t even mention anything about high fuel price and crooked brokers ripping off small companies and owner-operators,” Hussain commented. “Didn’t address the parking situation and hours of service rules. Delays at shippers and receivers.”
Trucking Groups Respond
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) applauded the Plan saying the Biden Administration is taking “important steps” to address workforce supply constraints.
“We are encouraged that the Biden Administration has not only recognized the importance of adding new and well-trained Americans to the trucking workforce, but has announced a path forward with what we believe will become a robust training opportunity for future commercial truck drivers,” said Bill Sullivan, ATA executive vice president of advocacy. “Using apprenticeships will help any American pursue a career in this great industry for good wages and benefits in a safe manner without the significant debt many jobseekers can sometimes incur.”
The White House said it will work with the ATA and the Trucking Alliance on ways to promote apprenticeship programs to its members.
The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) also weighed in.
“There are some elements in the Plan we support, including further analysis of driver compensation and unpaid detention time,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA president. “However, the plan fails to address excessively high driver turnover rates. Attracting and training new drivers won’t solve the larger problem of retention.”
The Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) blasted the Plan as “disingenuous,” arguing that even as mega carriers are working in conjunction with governmental leaders in an effort to “usher in driverless trucks” they are also pushing for new workers until such time as they can begin to replace them.
“The United States Departments of Transportation (DOT) and Labor (DOL) should be working on a displacement plan to transition drivers to other positions that meet their skill set and help drivers acquire new skills for other jobs,” the SBTC said.
As TNN reported earlier this year, a joint study conducted by the DOT and DOL determined automation in trucking will reduce wages and soon be felt in short-haul and regional operations, but is likely to be initially most disruptive to long-haul driving jobs.
“The size of the current long-haul workforce most likely to be impacted by the potential adoption of Level 4 or 5 automation in the coming decades is approximately 300,000 to 500,000 jobs,” the USDOT report states.
However, the study concluded driverless trucks are not an “imminent” threat to truck drivers.