Trucking Association Takes Senator to Task in Fight to Stop I/C Wipeout Bill
Charleston, WV – The West Virginia Trucking Association (WVTA) is taking Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) to task over his support for a bill many trucking stakeholders warn will lead to the wipeout of thousands of independent contractors.
In opinion editorial recently published by the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Daniel Hall, director of government affairs for the WVTA, challenged Sen. Manchin to vote against the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.
Sen. Manchin, viewed on Capitol Hill as a centrist, came out in favor of the PRO Act in April, adding momentum to Democratic efforts to pass the bill.
“Fifty percent of unions fail in their first year of organizing,” Manchin said at the time. “This legislation will level the playing field.”
In response to Sen. Manchin, Hall writes:
“Measures like the PRO Act purport to protect independent contractors who might be taken advantage of in certain industries other than trucking, but this approach does not account for how our industry operates. Although some elected officials understand the general importance of trucks and the drivers behind the wheel, few fully grasp the intricacies of how our industry works. Independent owner-operators are an essential pillar for a viable trucking industry. Take, for example, the holiday season, as shopping creates a surge in freight volumes and the demand for trucks. Trucking companies that serve retail stores use independent contractors to expand their capacity, rather than hiring new full-time drivers or buying or renting equipment that is needed only for a month’s time.”
Hall also warned of the consequences should the PRO Act become law.
“Measures like the PRO Act in Congress would present hurdles to independent contractors from working in trucking — affecting the livelihoods of more than 350,000 small-business trucking entrepreneurs and disrupting the safe and timely delivery of goods across our country.”
Further, Hall argues the PRO Act would “damage the supply chain’s critical link of the trucking industry.”
Moreover, Hall contends:
“When you talk to owner-operators in the trucking industry, they’ll tell you they choose to be independent contractors because it gives them the freedom to be their own boss. It provides schedule flexibility and the power to decide how much they make, instead of being paid a fixed amount as a company driver for a larger fleet and having to take the routes given them.”
The highly-contentious legislation — which is a major priority for the Biden Administration — is opposed by most trucking groups including: the American Trucking Associations, Truckload Carriers Association, Small Business in Transportation Coalition, Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association, National Association of Small Trucking Companies, and the Transportation Intermediaries Association.