Truckers protest lack of broker transparency

May 12, 2020

Mark Schremmer

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Truckers protest lack of broker transparency
Photo by OOIDA staff

Since May 1, dozens of trucks have lined Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C., to speak out for the rights of truck drivers.

Specifically, truckers are protesting against historically low freight rates and calling for transparency in broker transactions.

“The main issue on the ground has been price gouging and broker transparency,” said Fred Bowerman, a retired truck driver from Ohio who has helped with the logistics of the demonstrations. “Every day, we’ve had anywhere between 60 and 110 trucks. We expect more to be coming. Hundreds and hundreds have taken part since this all started.”

Trump tweets

The trucker protests started on May 1 and a couple of days later, President Donald Trump acknowledged the truck drivers on Twitter.

“I’m with the TRUCKERS all the way,” President Trump posted on Twitter on Sunday, May 3. “Thanks for the meeting at the White House with my representatives from the Administration. It is all going to work out well!”

On May 8, Trump told “Fox & Friends” that truck drivers are being “price gouged.”

“They’re like the farmers,” Trump said. “All they want is to be treated fairly, and we’re going to treat them fairly. What they’re asking for is almost nothing in many cases.”

A call for transparency

Trump didn’t provide any specifics about what would be done to help truck drivers, but OOIDA reached out to Congress last week to close loopholes that allow brokers to evade regulations that call for transparency regarding transactions.

The Association urges truck drivers to be cautious before taking loads for brokers they haven’t worked with before.

“Especially during times like this, some unscrupulous brokers have no intention of ever paying carriers and drivers for the services they provide,” OOIDA wrote. “When someone files a claim against the bond, the result is usually a payment of pennies on the dollar or maybe nothing at all. We refer to this issue as ‘broker bond’ and have been trying to get FMCSA and Congress to remedy it for nearly a decade.”

Truckers protest

OOIDA also commended the truck drivers who have been working to get their voices heard.

“We applaud the recent trucking protests in Washington, D.C.,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer said. “OOIDA was established as a result of similar protests nearly 50 years ago. When done properly, this form of activism can generate interest from lawmakers, regulators, and the general public. In short, job well done.”

Truck driver Demetris Price, who was at the protests in Washington, D.C., told Land Line Now’s Scott Thompson that many brokers have been gouging prices during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There has to be some sort of regulations on these doggone brokers, because they are just getting outrageous,” Price said. “Drivers do not have the time or the resources to go and pursue these guys. It’s getting worse and worse every day.”

Bowerman said he’s been pleased to see so many truck drivers uniting for one issue.

“It’s so refreshing to see truck drivers from all different demographics working together,” he said. “We are breeding a sense of community right now. If we can keep that happening, then we will have the foot soldiers to fight a lot of other battles down the road.”

Images from the truckers protest

 

Truckers protest lack of broker transparency
Photo by OOIDA staff

 

Truckers protest lack of broker transparency
Photo by Russell Rego.

 

Truckers protest
Photo by OOIDA staff.

 

Truckers protest
Photo by OOIDA staff.

 

We are not the ATA, truckers protest
Photo by OOIDA staff
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Mark Schremmer

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 nearly two decades of journalism experience to our staff.