Truckers deserve overtime pay, Sen. Padilla says

December 1, 2023

Mark Schremmer


Sen. Alex Padilla’s reasoning for why he introduced the Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers Act is pretty simple.

“Truck drivers deserve overtime pay when they work overtime,” the California Democrat told Land Line Now’s Scott Thompson during a recent interview.

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 includes a motor carrier exemption that means truck drivers are not entitled to overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week. The GOT Truckers Act would remove the exemption, guaranteeing overtime pay for company drivers.

And even though the bill would only apply to company drivers, proponents contend that the legislation would benefit all truckers as it would force everyone in the supply chain to begin valuing a driver’s time.

“Unbelievably, trucking is one of the only professions in America that is denied guaranteed overtime pay,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer said. “We are way past due as a nation in valuing the sacrifices that truckers make every single day. This starts with simply paying truckers for all of the time they work.”

Sens. Padilla and Edward J. Markey, D-Mass, introduced S3273. The House version of the GOT Truckers Act, HR6359, was introduced by Reps. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., and Mark Takano, D-Calif.

Padilla said that lawmakers and the general public are often surprised to learn that truck drivers are exempt from overtime pay.

“We look at the status quo, and the status quo has been unacceptable,” Padilla said.

The American Trucking Associations, which represents large fleets, has criticized the GOT Truckers Act, calling the bill “a thinly veiled attempt to boost trial attorneys’ fees.”

Padilla pushed back against that claim.

“I have heard some of the criticism, and like on anything else, you have to consider where the criticism is coming from,” Padilla said. “When it’s the big trucking companies, we know that it’s the bottom line that they are interested in before truckers themselves. So that’s a big, big reminder for all of us to consider when we hear the criticism.”

Van Drew told Land Line Now that the overtime bill is about fairness.

“Let’s be fair,” Van Drew said. “Truckers are breaking their backs. They sincerely are what makes America move. Our country would be in a whole lot of trouble if we didn’t have truckers working for us every single day. When people don’t work hard, that’s up to them and maybe they don’t deserve to make a lot of money. But truckers do, and they deserve to be treated fairly and make a decent income.” LL