Letters to the Editor: Mexico Border Pilot, Driver Appreciation, Outsourcing Overseas, Slow-Pay Blues

These Letters to the Editor appear in the Sept. 8 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

Mexico Border Pilot

If the Chinese are going to make all the goods, the Arabs supply all the oil and the Mexicans do all the transportation, what are we going to do? This sounds very much like the fall of the Roman Empire in past history.

Les Hall



Tucson, Ariz.

It is abundantly clear that in the matter of the Mexican border pilot program, the Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are firmly in the pockets of the White House and corporations that are clearly more interested in driving wages down for American truck drivers than they are in the safety and security of U.S. citizens.

Jim Green

Kingman, Ariz.

Driver Appreciation

I am in the administrative end of a large, successful trucking business. I believe one of the reasons for our success is that many of the staff members, including the owner, have driven trucks for a living. We know what it is like “out there.”

We appreciate our drivers, day in and day out. They are a welcome sight at our headquarters, and they know it. Drivers come and go; it is the nature of the business. But we also are proud to have great drivers who have been with us 20-plus years.

Hard times like these separate the wheat from the chaff. Our “wheat” still will be here, no matter what.

Smart business practices, team loyalty and exceptional customer service will continue to be the guideposts of our company. We love our drivers!

Lottie Wilds


John Christner Trucking Inc.

Sapulpa, Okla.

Outsourcing Overseas

After reading “Outsourcing: Trucking’s Elephant in the Room” (8-25, p. 5; click here for previous Opinion piece) written by Ms. Jennifer Aliengena and pertaining to “outsourcing” clerical staff, I was totally incensed with its simpleminded logic.

In her op-ed she asked, “Why is overseas staffing so taboo?”

She answered her own question in the column: “In large part, it’s because the transportation industry is among the most patriotic in the country.” (Not to mention civically responsible.) I know patriotism seems to be out of fashion in the business world of today, so I’ll put my two arguments into practical terms that proponents of outsourcing will understand:

1. How much will your overseas workers spend here in the United States on groceries, clothing, automobiles, taxes, etc.? They actually will be “sucking” money out of the country — a net loss to the United States for every overseas person hired to replace a U.S. employee.

A majority of our current economic woes have been caused by the systematic exportation of our domestic jobs. Where we once had millions of people earning a decent wage, supporting families and paying taxes, we now have millions of people working at lower-paying jobs. These people now require subsidization by state and federal governments (using billions of our tax dollars) because they are unable to maintain a reasonable standard of living comparable to what they once had. This “subsidy” is rarely if ever mentioned when performing your “cost saving” calculations. Yet, because of its extreme effect, it must be considered when factored into your “outsourcing” equation.

For years, industry routinely polluted the land and rivers without regard to the horrible effects; making profits and reducing costs were the only considerations. Once the environmental movement gained strength, the true costs of this thoughtlessness were finally realized. We now pay for the responsible treatment of the environment as part of the price of every domestically produced article. One of the reasons your foreign “staffers” can work for so much less is the fact that they are not paying the price for environmental responsibility when purchasing goods manufactured in their own countries.

2. Abraham Lincoln once was presented with a question regarding the purchase of “rails” for train tracks. The question was whether the rails should be purchased from England at a lower price or purchased domestically from a U.S. company. His response was the epitome of common sense. To paraphrase his reply, “If we buy the rails from England we get the rails and they get the money; if we buy them domestically, we get both the rails and the money.”

I’d choose Abraham Lincoln’s thought process and logic over your op-ed writer’s any day.

Pete Bezich

Sales Manager

Tri-State Diesel Inc.

Enfield, Conn.

Ms. Aliengena’s article pushing overseas staffing doesn’t fly. No one I have ever spoken with has been satisfied with the quality of service they receive from staff obviously not familiar with the English language.

Taking jobs away from the United States is one of the reasons we are dependent on other countries for fuel, household goods, etc. In my opinion, it’s the main reason good-paying jobs are not readily available.

As a consumer, I do care if the businesses I use in my personal life put America and its workers first. If Ms. Aliengena’s ideas are put into play, how many of those foreign personnel are going to spend money in my grocery store, my local shops, my local gas station — you get the idea. You have to earn it to spend it.

I am thankful I work for a company that doesn’t feel it would be a better alternative to go overseas for the positions mentioned in her article.

Janey Springman

Altoona, Pa.

In the movie “Field of Dreams,” James Earl Jones makes a ninth-inning, two-out, full-count speech in which he talks about America and baseball. He stands up in that golden moment and says, “. . . while America has been torn down and rebuilt and marched by like a steamroller, baseball has been the constant through the years.” The trucking industry, like America, has been torn down and rebuilt again and again and yet still rolls on like a steamroller — but the constant is ingenuity.

Ingenuity is what America does best. The trucking industry represents the core of what has made America great. Everyone looks at the huge major carriers and thinks, “Wow! What a great company.” But what everyone forgets is that, almost without fail, every carrier, large or small, was started with one man, one truck and his desire to make better for himself.

The leaders of our industry have survived cash flow problems; middle-of-the-night, middle-of-nowhere breakdowns; the Department of Transportation; brokers; lenders; family issues; lawyers; etc. They will survive the economic crunch we are currently going through and they will survive it through ingenuity — the same thing they used when they let out the clutch on their first load in their first used truck.

Will they look like they did a year ago? I doubt it. Life is about change and adapting and that is what they also will have to do.

In response to Ms. Aliengena’s op-ed column on Aug. 25 in favor of outsourcing American jobs overseas, it would be best to look here at home first. There are many accounting, legal, payroll and bookkeeping services being provided by American companies that are working very successfully.

Also, a growing untapped resource is the in-home contractor. Many employees can take a large salary concession by using computers, phones and mail and performing their jobs from home. A significant portion of many clerical workers’ salary goes to transportation, clothing and child care. By allowing employees to work from home, they could save much of that cost.

Many large American companies use this even with customer service. One of my company’s vendors, a large insurance company, has underwriters working hundreds of miles away in remote farmhouses. These workers will admit that their paychecks are not as large as their office-bound co-workers, but also will agree that the overall compensation is close and being home shifts the scale.

This is not the ultimate cure-all or the only answer. But before we jump on the offshore boat (no pun intended) let’s use what made us the greatest nation in the world and put our blue jeans back on, do a little head scratching and pondering and see if there are other ways to keep our “family” working.

Jonathan Laubert


Cornerstone Trucking Services

Wright City, Mo.

What in the World Wide Web is happening to our country? Any task that can be performed over the Internet is now subject to the cold, greedy search for profit that raises the rest of the world’s standard of living while lowering ours. As with the North American Free Trade Agreement, “that giant sucking sound you hear” is now east and west, not just from the north and south.

Satellite communication has increased driver productivity, but at the cost of human contact and interaction. It really bothers me that “workers” are rapidly becoming just faceless units of cost instead of friends we know and care about.

Jim Stark

Over-the-Road Driver

Clarksville, Tenn.

Slow Pay Blues

This is in response to the letter titled “The Slow Pay Blues” (8-4,

p. 9), which read in part: “Since the Interstate Commerce Commission has gone away, shippers no longer are required to pay freight bills in seven days.”

It’s never a good thing when you have to chase your money. You’ve done the work to everybody’s satisfaction and now you have to wait to get paid — sometimes for months. But I have a solution: Don’t do business with brokers, or customers for that matter, who have questionable credit.

Rather than looking for government intervention, why not correct your problem by having good credit practices in place?

I had one carrier tell me that he “does not do business with brokers or forwarders.” My comment to him was, “What does it matter who I am as long as I pay my bills?” He had no argument, but regurgitated what he’d been told — that it was “company policy.”

I agree with the letter writer that there are a lot of disreputable brokers. And customers. And carriers. We can’t change that.

What we can do is to stop working with them.

Debra Maass


Hannic Freight Forwarders Inc.

Plainfield, Ill.