OOIDA talks overtime, AB5 on Clubhouse

October 13, 2022

Mark Schremmer

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Whether it be in the courtroom or in Congress, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is dedicated to fighting for the interests of truck drivers.

Two examples of those efforts were discussed on the latest episode of Transportation & Logistics on Clubhouse. Collin Long and Bryce Mongeon from OOIDA’s Washington, D.C., team joined host Jorie Shaun to discuss the GOT Truckers Act and California’s AB5.

GOT Truckers Act

The Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers Act is an example of OOIDA’s legislative efforts. The Association helped craft the bill, which would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to remove motor carriers’ exemption from having to pay overtime. The exemption has been in effect since 1938.

Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., introduced HR7517 in April. Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., introduced S4823 in September. The goal is to force the industry to value a truck driver’s time. Without an overtime requirement and with most drivers paid by the mile, it is common for truckers to sit for hours at loading or unloading facilities.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association encourages its members to contact their lawmakers and ask them to become a co-sponsor.

Mongeon and Long told Shaun that OOIDA believes the time to pay truckers fairly is long overdue.

“The overtime exemption devalues truckers’ time,” said Mongeon, OOIDA’s director of federal affairs. “It makes truckers treated differently than most other blue-collar workers. The GOT Truckers Act would eliminate that exemption. (It would) make sure that truckers are treated like everyone else, and it will solve a lot of the issues we see in the industry with pay, working conditions and a lot of other things.”

The bill would directly affect company drivers, but OOIDA believes it would create benefits for all truckers.

“What we’re talking about directly relates to employee drivers, but if this legislation were to be enacted it would have a broader effect across the trucking industry and a broader positive effect for owner-operators and drivers across the industry,” Mongeon said. “Because if you’re improving wages, improving rates and improving working conditions for employee drivers, you know that a rising tide lifts all boats.”

The American Trucking Associations and numerous large carriers oppose the bill.

“(Opponents) will often say, ‘Who’s going to pay for this?’ We’ll remind them that drivers are currently paying for this by not getting fairly compensated for all of the time they’ve worked,” said Long, OOIDA’s director of government affairs. “We think the burden shouldn’t be on us to say how people are going to pay for it. It should be on those opposing this to say, ‘Why aren’t you paying your drivers a sustainable wage? Why aren’t you paying drivers in a manner that reduces your turnover rate below 90-100% annually?’ Those are the questions that should be asked and helps expose the inherent unfairness of compensation in the trucking industry for drivers.”

Long said the GOT Truckers Act simply removes an outdated and unfair rule from the books.

“We often get comments from members that they want to avoid us to avoid additional regulations, and they see this as us pushing for more government intervention in the industry,” Long said. “We actually contend it’s the opposite. We’re trying to get rid of a regulation that is entirely outdated, no longer makes sense for the industry and prevents a lot of folks in trucking from being fairly compensated. If you’re for reduced regulation, then you have to be for the GOT Truckers Act because it literally gets rid of an outdated policy that no longer has any reality in trucking.”

AB5

OOIDA also discussed AB5 – one of its active courtroom battles.

The Association was recently allowed to join the California Trucking Association’s lawsuit against the state’s worker classification law known as AB5. The law makes it difficult for truckers to remain independent contractors in the state.

OOIDA aims to represent small-business truckers who travel in and out of California.

“It’s extremely important that we’ve been able to join the lawsuit as a party, because this now means that our views will most certainly have a seat at the table – the views of our members and of owner-operators will broadly be represented in this case,” Mongeon said.

OOIDA believes AB5 violates the Commerce Clause, which protects the right to engage in interstate commerce free of undue burdens and discrimination by state governments.

“We bring is the interstate perspective to this case,” Mongeon said. “The California Trucking Association represents California-based businesses. We bring businesses that run into, through and out of California, because we have members from across the country.”

Motion to amend scheduling

The California Trucking Association and OOIDA filed a joint motion on Oct. 11 to amend the briefing schedule in the AB5 lawsuit.

If granted, the trucking groups will have until Dec. 7 to file any new motions for a preliminary injunction. California will then have until Feb. 8 to respond. The deadline for final motions will be March 1.

The trucking groups said the new briefing schedule will allow OOIDA time to submit its own motion. LL

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Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.