OOIDA clarifies broker transparency misinformation in message to Congress
May 26, 2020
Continuing its efforts for more transparency in transactions with brokers, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association reached out to every congressional office on Tuesday morning to clear up any misinformation to the contrary.
On Tuesday, May 26, OOIDA Director of Government Affairs Collin Long sent an email to each Congress member’s office to dispel any information that undermines OOIDA’s push for more broker transparency. Shortly after OOIDA initially reached out to Congress about the issue, the Transportation Intermediaries Association, which represents brokers, sent a letter to its members countering the arguments. OOIDA claims TIA is using “misleading and insulting arguments.”
TIA told Senate Commerce and House Transportation Committee leaders in a letter that “many (truckers) don’t have the time to understand market conditions,” a remark OOIDA considers condescending.
“This assertion is incredibly disrespectful to the men and women who operate small trucking businesses and its inclusion in correspondence to congressional offices is extraordinarily arrogant,” Long states in the email. “The fact is, many truckers have focused on this issue precisely because they understand market conditions well enough to know that some brokers are taking advantage of them.”
Additionally, TIA attacked OOIDA’s efforts by misrepresenting its claims regarding broker transparency. More specifically, TIA told lawmakers that OOIDA is “asking Congress to intervene and require brokers to make their margins public on every invoice.”
However, OOIDA has never stated anything regarding making margins public. Rather, the Association wants to make sure there is compliance within the transparency regulations between brokers and carriers.
TIA also claims that its members can inform truckers of market conditions by pointing to rates on load board and digital apps. However, OOIDA points out that brokers control the information on rates available on those platforms. OOIDA states that load boards do not replace the transparency provided within federal regulations.
OOIDA continues by referring to the letter TIA sent its members. In the letter, TIA suggests ways for brokers to continue to avoid transparency.
“Many brokers have made it clear they have no intention of fully complying with 371.3 anyway, which is why legislative and regulatory action is necessary,” Long said in the email.
OOIDA is urging Congress to consider three initiatives to improve broker transparency. First, Congress must prohibit brokers from including clauses that essentially waive a carrier’s right to access information. In its letter to members, TIA told brokers to inform carriers who requested information that they will not be given it because the broker signed a confidentiality agreement with the shipper.
Second, Congress must require the automatic electronic transmission of records made available under federal regulations following the completion of service. In an effort to circumvent regulations, brokers only provide records of transactions at their office locations during normal business hours. Essentially, this makes it virtually impossible for owner-operators and small carriers to access the information.
Lastly, OOIDA is calling for fines for brokers who violate transparency regulations. Furthermore, the Association wants the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to suspend or revoke the authority of brokers who are habitually noncompliant.
TIA compared owner-operators to communists in its letter to members in an attempt to undermine OOIDA’s position.
“Maybe we have been transported to some communist country where rates and profits are controlled,” the letter states. “No, we relegated communism to backwater countries like Cuba. So maybe the owner-operators have their own sales force to find shipper freight to fill their trucks and, therefore, do not really need brokers but use you because they like you.”
Explaining OOIDA’s stance, Long tells Congress members that the Association’s requests are less sinister and much simpler.
“In the end, all truckers want is for brokers to comply with existing federal regulations,” Long told Congress members. “They’re not asking for anything more than their right to transparency, which is used to help them differentiate good brokers from unscrupulous ones. OOIDA’s recommendations to ensure compliance with 371.3 are not the ‘communist’ attempts to control rates TIA contends, nor do we have ‘mischievous purposes in mind’ for proposing them.”