Letters: Driver Hours, Jobs and Workforce
When will the trucking industry, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the critics of the industry come to the realization that there never will be one set of rules that fits all types of trucking operations or satisfies every proponent and opponent?
It’s time to settle on a set of requirements everyone can get some satisfaction from and concentrate on the real problem with hours-of-service regulations — the small percentage of industry workers who continually violate the hours rules. No matter what regulations are in place — and it could be the “perfect plan” — this segment of the industry will continue to violate them.
Most motor carriers and drivers operate safely within the current regulations and did so before the current changes — some easier than others but in compliance nonetheless.
It’s this writer’s opinion that the task at hand is a serious commitment of resources, time and money directed at weeding out the “bad apples.” Getting these drivers off the road would seem to be a better solution than words on a page.
Jobs and Workforce
We continually hear talk from Washington about how many jobs have been created and/or saved, but I do not see it at our level. The only new jobs I see having really been created are those in the White House.
Although there may have been a stimulus boost to the job market, it is only temporary. Unemployment continues to rise, unemployment benefits regularly get pushed out further and employers are not yet increasing their work staff numbers — and won’t until they feel a leveling off followed by an increase in the economic trend toward recovery.
Let’s look at some troubling facts that raise questions regarding the job market, trucking included.
A day doesn’t go by without us hearing how illegal immigrant workers and their employers are being targeted by our government — and in many cases by our society in general — as hurting our economy by getting certain benefits we feel they do not deserve, not only because they are illegal immigrants, but just because they are immigrants, period.
Take a look at agriculture, farming and, yes, even trucking. These industries have to rely on immigrant workers to do the work we cannot get Americans to do, from harvesting fruit and vegetables to driving the trucks that transport the produce. Why is this? Because there is manual labor involved with these jobs. We can’t get enough U.S. workers to perform the manual labor needed for these businesses to survive.
Instead of trying to get rid of the immigrant workforce and stop them from working, we should be figuring out a way to get them to stay here.
Until U.S. workers are willing to get their hands dirty, we need this outside workforce to remain and be on the inside. Even our military cannot find enough physically fit individuals to sign up; they reject more than they bring in.
Our society has gotten soft, and we’d better wake up. Jobs involving manual labor are still a huge part of our existence. If we let that go under, we’d better hope our computers can pick apples or drive our trucks.
Director of Safety
deBoer Transportation Inc.