Wednesday, July 23, 2014

More Company Lies

Management at the Laredo, TX terminal is doing anything they can to convince their labor to say no to the union. Among the list of many ridiculous and illegal lies, they've added a few. They are saying that if the union comes in they will fire all dock workers because the union doesn't allow dock only employees. The company has also said that everyone gets to vote in the election, including temps and as absurd as it sounds, the cleaning crew. They've also begun to punish dock only temps that want to be put on "full-time" by not allowing them to get their CDL once put on and not giving them any benefits. This terminal will be the front line as we try to unionize this company. Once we get to a vote here, it will include office, dock, city drivers and line drivers. Temps don't count as they don't work for the company. Although once unionized there wouldn't be any more temps. Wages will go up, insurance premiums will go down, stress will go down, and job security will go up.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Federal board accuses port trucking firm of labor law violations

The federal government has accused a trucking company in Carson of more than 50 labor law violations, including firing drivers for union activity, retaliating against pro-labor employees and planting an anti-union operative amid its workforce.

The National Labor Relations Board lodged the complaint Wednesday against Green Fleet Systems, a firm that employs about 150 truck drivers who haul cargo containers to and from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The NLRB's extensive allegations indicate that the company set out to destroy the lawful union organizing effort of its drivers.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Un-lean Program

One basic right with a union is respect on the job. That's something that is lacking at Conway. Fontana, CA manager Patrick Touhy recently threatened an employee. He told the employee that he can "make him disappear." Did he mean by termination or did he mean something else? If the tables were turned and one of us said the same thing, they wouldn't hesitate to call police. Now, this should be investigated by the company. They talk about respect and zero-tolerance on violence. Well, what could be expected? They would definitely approve of Patrick's actions and encourage this type of behavior. With a union this wouldn't be tolerated and there would surely be a business agent called in to stick his foot up Patrick's ass. Since we don't have a union we can expect Patrick to continue his abuse of employees and someday land a promotion like David Herrera. David is now a manager at UOR and drivers complained about him abusing his authority when he was an FOM at USB. He's up to his old tricks now at the Orange, CA terminal. David is in violation of labor laws by telling employees that Conway will find out which employees singed union cards and that they will be terminated. He's also telling employees that other have been forced to sign union cards. We need to stay on top of these cockroaches and keep outing them on their violations.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Truck Driver Coercion Rule Puts Spotlight on Shippers, Supply Chains William B. Cass

For years, truck drivers have complained about being pushed by dispatchers and others to violate federal regulations to meet unrealistic delivery deadlines. Soon, truckers may have a way to push back.

A proposal published in the May 13 Federal Register targets “coercion” against truckers and would hit offenders — including motor carriers, logistics operators and shippers — with penalties of up to $11,000 per incident, and possible revocation of the operating authority of a trucking company, freight broker or forwarder.

The proposed rule is the latest step toward extending the regulatory reach of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration beyond trucking to the broader supply chain. The FMCSA is looking into issues such as driver detention to determine how action or inaction by shippers, consignees and other supply chain partners can affect truck driver health, well-being and safety.

“Safety has got to be part of the supply chain, part of logistics planning, just as sustainability and efficiency are,” FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro said during a panel discussion at the annual meeting of the Transportation and Logistics Council in Nashville, Tennessee, in March.

The FMCSA began studying the effects of excessive detention at shipper and receiver sites in 2012, recently completing the first phase of its investigation. The second phase of the detention study is set to begin shortly.

The agency is also studying the connection between detention, driver pay and highway safety. At the Transportation Research Board meeting in Washington in January, Ferro called detention “not just inefficiency in the supply chain, but inefficiency that is placed on the back of truckers and for which they are not compensated.”

The Obama administration included language in the Grow America Act — the White House’s $302 billion surface transportation spending proposal — that would require truck drivers who are paid per mile also be paid for non-driving time at an hourly rate not less than the federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 per hour.

Although the Obama bill may have less chance of advancing in Congress than a fuels tax increase, the driver pay provision does indicate how the administration is thinking about driver and truck safety issues.

Ferro said Congress gave the agency a freer hand to oversee supply chains in the 2012 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act or MAP-21, by ordering the agency to issue an anti-coercion rule, along with an electronic logging mandate. MAP-21, “extends the agency’s authority to penalize into the shipping world,” Ferro told the T&LC, ensuring “a holistic approach to safety for that last mile.”

In its rule-making, the FMCSA goes farther than Congress ordered. The agency’s proposed rule would cover not just Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and Hazardous Materials Regulations but the commercial regulations governing motor carrier practices — such as obtaining insurance and operating authority — the FMCSA inherited from the Interstate Commerce Commission.

The coercion rule-making should put transportation intermediaries and shippers — as well as trucking companies — on alert. In its proposal, the FMCSA said Congress in MAP-21 decided to expand the reach of motor carrier safety regulations “from the supply side … to the demand side,” including shippers, receivers, brokers, freight forwarders “and others that hire motor carriers to provide transportation and whose actions have an impact on CMV (commercial motor vehicle) safety.”

The rule-making targets any company that threatens drivers with “loss of a job, denial of subsequent loads, reduced payment, denied access to the best trips, etc.” for refusing to operate a truck under circumstances they know or should know would violate federal truck safety rules.

For example, insisting a driver deliver a load on a schedule that would be impossible to meet without violating hours of service regulations, or pressuring a driver to operate an unsafe vehicle. The coercion rule would apply to shippers or brokers when they assume the role “normally reserved to the driver’s employer,” the FMCSA said in its proposal. For example, directing a driver to finish a run within a certain time. That shipper or broker “may commit coercion if it fails to heed a driver’s objection that the request would require him/her to break the rules,” the agency said. “When directing the driver’s actions, these entities ‘should have known’ whether the driver could complete the run” without violating the work rules.

The driver would have to object for a threat to constitute coercion, the agency said, asking for comments on how drivers might modify their interactions with shippers, receivers and intermediaries in response to the rule. Comments are due by Aug. 11, 2014.

The proposed rule could certainly lead to changes in how shippers, receivers, brokers and carrier dispatchers interact with drivers. Some trucking companies may decide their dispatch staff needs additional training.

Under the proposed rule, drivers would have 60 days to file a written coercion complaint with an FMCSA division administrator, either the administrator for the state where the coercion occurred or the one for the state where the company involved has its principal place of business. Complaints sent to the FMCSA by e-mail, letter, social media or phone will be forwarded to the appropriate state FMCSA official.

The division administrator would then determine whether a complaint was “non-frivolous” and investigate accusations of coercion, the FMCSA said in its proposal.

Contact William B. Cassidy and follow him on Twitter: @wbcassidy_joc.