Moving and Storage Executives Descend on Washington
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WASHINGTON — Several dozen executives from the moving and storage sector recently spent a day in the halls of Congress to discuss key issues with about 60 lawmakers or their staffs.
The Moving and Storage Conference of American Trucking Associations on Sept. 27 held a “Call on Washington” campaign that members who arrived from around the nation considered a success. They focused on members of Congress who either lead committees or have influence over legislation important to movers.
Some of the top issues included delays in gaining entrance to military installations, as well as widespread concern and confusion over a $20 billion Global Household Goods contract awarded to a Houston company that is intended to modernize moves for military families. Also top of mind were widespread moving fraud by unscrupulous and unregistered motor carriers, clarification of broker registration requirements, protecting the independent contractor model and reinstating a deduction for expenses related to employment-based relocation.
The group got a send-off from ATA President Chris Spear during a breakfast at ATA’s Capitol Hill office.
“This is an opportunity to park yourselves in front of decision-makers and make an ask,” Spear said. “It’s very important to understand that they work for you. This is an opportunity for you to tell our story and to build out champions.
“You’re taking time, you’re taking expense to come to Washington to put yourselves right in front of them. Always leave the room by asking them where they stand on your issues.”
Spear speaks to the moving and storage executives. “This is an opportunity to park yourselves in front of decision-makers and make an ask,” he said. (American Trucking Associations)
Executives in attendance said their mission was so important that they came to Washington on their own company’s dime. Visits were broken down into representatives from various states as a way to divide and conquer.
“We’re happy that ATA and MSC organized this,” Anthony Shipp, CEO of Pearl City, Hawaii-based M. Dyer Global said after leaving a 25-minute session with a staff member for Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii). “It’s not easy to get face time with legislators to talk about topics that impact your industry. We’d be foolish not to do that.”
One key example, he said, are wait times for drivers.
“To get into the base at Pearl Harbor, sometimes the wait time is two hours,” Shipp said. “When we’re paying our guys by the hour, that’s just two extra hours of work that could have been done.”
Each year, moving conference executives meet with legislators in an attempt to build on both new and recurring issues, said Mike Matousek, director of ATA’s government freight conference, the leader of this year’s Call on Washington California delegation.
“For instance, when we were here last year talking about base access, we were just talking about an issue, but we didn’t have a lot more than that,” Matousek said. “This year, we’re actually talking about bill numbers, section numbers within bills, we have base-access legislative texts and Senate defense bills.
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“So the progress on that from last year to now is quite a bit. This year, we hope to pass the finish line. It’s not always like instant gratification all the time, but in the big picture, we can see we are making progress.”
Said Tim Wicker, manager of operations at San Diego-based Republic Moving and Storage: “It’s important.”
James Lovejoy, a vice president at Republic, emerged with a smile after a meeting with one senator’s staff expert on defense.
“He was very open on the idea of GAO impact study on the Global Household Goods contract,” Lovejoy said. “We just want to make sure that it works. We’re not against the program, we just need it to make sense.”
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