ELD mandate could pave way for time-based pay prevalence

| April 25, 2014

ELD grid

Removal of the long-distance truck driver’s exemption from overtime pay in the Fair Labor Standards Act was on the radar of the FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee in February. It’s also been on the radar of many a driver, owner-operators included, for years, particularly in light of the increasing use of electronic logging devices and onboard communication tools.

Some argue that trend removes the original rationale for exempting long-distance haulers from some of FLSA’s labor protections. Now, such thinking goes, the truck’s cab can be more or less a monitored extension of the office – not much different from a factory floor. 

In February, when MCSAC prioritized items for Congress to consider as part of the next highway bill, removal of the exemption, as well as establishment of a “safe pay rate” minimum, was put forward at the meeting by Bruce Hamilton of the Amalgamated Transit Union. Ultimately, the notion found support across a sizable segment of the committee.

The “original thinking” behind the overtime exemption was to minimize “incentives to work more overtime hours” in a safety-conscious industry, said Todd Spencer, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association executive vice president and MCSAC member. Today, however, “technologies are all about maximizing productivity,” Spencer noted. “The 40-hour workweek went away for drivers a long time ago. … The broader issue of not placing any value on a driver’s time costs trucking billions and society even more.”

Finally, Spencer noted, the lack of time value also costs a loss of “safe and experienced drivers that no longer want any part of a lifestyle that is based on income that has been stagnant for years.” Spencer called removal of the exemption from overtime pay a difficult sell in Congress, but “the right thing to do.”

Related

Views: Fair-labor exemption petition, truck driver as DOT secretary

Owner-operator Joe Ammons launches his petition to the DOT secretary to disallow the trucking exemption from provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Spencer’s argument for FLSA reform was similar to that of Washington state-based owner-operator Joe Ammons. Overdrive has reported on Ammons’ circulated petition (an idea he launched nearly two years ago) to reform FLSA for company drivers. Though such reform wouldn’t apply directly to independent contractor owner-operators and those with their own authority, Ammons argued that the rate dynamics resulting from improved pay for company drivers would filter positively throughout the industry.

Related

ELD mandate: Independents’ final straw?

An Overdrive survey shows between 50 and 70 percent of respondents threatening to exit the industry over the electronic-log mandate -- the highest percentages are among independents/small fleets.

Todd Amen of ATBS, however, cautioned that he believes another primary downside risk of the ELD mandate is that it paves the way for further limiting hours. “The FMCSA strongly believes all drivers should be paid hourly and they shouldn’t work more than 40 hours a week for safety reasons,” says Amen. “ELDs head us down a road where that can be mandated.”

Related

Panel: Paying drivers by hour would be ‘suicide,’ driver pay raise looming

Fleets should be reluctant to abandon paying drivers by the mile, according to a panel of fleet managers, but driver pay is looming.

Removal of the FLSA exemption alone or establishing a minimum “safe pay rate” wouldn’t necessarily limit drivers to 40 hours a week or even hourly pay itself. Still, in part because it would introduce a disconnect between how fleets typically are paid by their customers (by the mile) and their drivers, the notion of paying drivers hourly for all time has been called “financial suicide” for a truckload business, as a carrier executive said last year.

Related

Attention to detention: Solutions to the problem of uncompensated time, part 1

Everyone in the supply chain benefits from uncompensated detention time – except the driver. Some see a shift toward hourly pay as a solution; other solutions are explored in this part 1 of a two-part series on detention.

All the same, many believe ELDs will help carriers of all sizes as they continue to establish detention pay programs with shippers and receivers to compensate drivers for excess waits. Widespread ELD use will “put pressure on shippers and receivers, where it needs to be,” says industry analyst Jay Thompson.

Pat Hockaday, commenting under this story on OverdriveOnline.com, saw the potential for ELDs to move the industry toward hourly company-driver pay as virtually the only way the devices may stand to benefit the industry. “Now that the boss is watching them continuously,” he said of company operators under ELDs, “I believe more than ever that they should be paid by the hour for every hour they are at work doing as instructed,” including waits at shippers and receivers. Hockaday outlined hourly company-driver pay levels that could be based on experience defined according to miles run. 

In the long run, Hockaday noted, “This would also force freight rates to go up” and put “an end to unpaid detention time at shippers and receivers as well as forced detention by the company.”

Related

ELD rule public comments mixed, with renewed focus on hours rule

Among others, Mark Olsen of Clinton, Utah, echoed the overall mixed nature of the comments all told. However, he rejoined arguments in favor of the need for ELDs with a message heard increasingly -- that the hours of service rules in general are the bigger problem as regards true safety.

The FMCSA’s ELD mandate proposal continues under a public comment period through late May. Comments on the rule can be made online at regulations.gov using the Docket Number FMCSA-2010-0167 or by email at oira_submissions @omb.eop.gov, using the subject line Attention: Desk Officer for FMCSA, DOT. They can also be faxed to 202-395-6566.

Submissions can also be made by mail: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503, ATTN: Desk Officer, FMCSA, DOT.

 

  • Tom T

    Sounds to me as though Amen was not expecting
    this discussion on hourly rates. Now he warns drivers
    could be restricted to 40 hrs. per week. If he had his
    way drivers could work 70 or 80 hours a week while
    giving away 30 or 40% of their time for free as they
    have been doing. About time to do this and while
    they are at it, time and a half after eight. Now your
    talking safety and fairness. After all, unless companies
    are forced to, they are not going to pay drivers for
    delayed times and you know they are going to use
    ELDs to bill for it. While they are at it, they ought to
    re-regulate rates again as they were before 79-80.
    Then everybody can make a good living.

  • Bemis

    As a small fleet owner I pay my drivers well. They work based on that. Much like pulling cheap freight nobody is forcing drivers to work for poor paying companies. Stop working for them and they will raise pay. Keep working for them and they won’t. Why do we (yes I’m still a driver in my company) as professional drivers a career known for its independence need to ask the government(or just let them) to be babysitters. Don’t pull cheap freight. Don’t drive cheap. Supply and demand is wonderful. Sorry their is currently a list of applicants for driving positions at my place based on pay and driver happiness

  • Guest

    It’s gonna cost me money period.

  • martin

    Those people who do not want to work 70hr-80hr week should find job in local walmart this is free country and anybody has choice work as they pleased. nobody regulate McDonald if you want to work double shift you are welcome if needed. why everybody want to regulate this business.This is lobby of powerful aiming to destroy nation of free people and make us slaves. the day e log goes in 4 people get laid off and i stop my company, this lobby of powerful will have to take care of 4 families give them job or welfare. Who is going to to cry most will be non asset carrier there is not going to be cheap labor of small company or independent owner /op. this government should regulate that min rate per mile should be $4.00 and that it is we wold not have to worry to hustle all month long to make just make living, we would have money to maintain truck pay excellent pay to our drivers. As normal all this is taking from wrong end, we put money for truck insurance fuel permits etc. give job to local parts supplier, driver who feed their family, local and federal economy the taxes and permits are big $$$$, fuel 1/2 of my income goes to fuel company and we are last bitch everybody take piece of us, DOT harassment (due to Florida based carrier get stops and checked 4to6 time a week) broker steal money from rates, truck stop gouge you on anything they provide, lumpers squeeze from you $320 for 6 pallets (make more money in 1 hr then you in 3 days driving) what is wrong with this picture one thing only we will not get united, if all of us stop we would not be last bitch everybody abuse but they would deal with us with respect and dignity we are who is back bone of economy what we do is not appreciated. Somebody has to wake up and bring some common sense to this non-sense. our brave politicians only worry who will finance their next campaign they dop not care for ordinary working people. Than is bottom line.

  • Dennis

    This talk all sounds good of hourly pay and less hours, detension pay and higher rates all sound good. I’m an owner operator and I would love all that but is anyone including the government thinking of where all this increase comes from. The shipper will pass it to the manufacturing world which will increase cost of goods to everyone buying the goods. That includes us as well as the public. I don’t know about anyone else but prices of things are already thru the roof. Imagine what the next part for your truck will cost with all these rates increased.

  • Tom T

    The government is taking away your choices.
    These regs. only benefit the large carriers.
    The more regulations you have, the less
    choices. It basically levels the playing field
    for them. They already run ELDs and
    restrict their trucks to 65 or lower, now
    they want you to do the same. Can you
    leave 4 or 5 MTs at a shipper till they are
    ready to load it? They want small fleets out
    so they can grab that market share and the
    holding company with the most bucks and
    trucks and cheapest drivers wins. With the
    help of the ATA of course. Small fleets
    have been going belly up since 2008 and
    now with freight starting to ramp up it`s
    time to put the pressure for more regulations on. Never ends.

  • Tom T

    You think they really care? We are16 trillion dollars in debt and they can`t spend it fast enough. Did they care when the price of
    diesel went up to $4.00 a gallon? Not a
    peep.

  • Barney

    The e log mandate is good for maybe compliance only. As far as pay goes, no. The companies will simply absorb that as a cost of doing business. Which will ultimately cost every body more for goods and services.

  • Steve P

    Have you all forgot this is the everything should be equal President and his Administration. We cannot compare rates we cannot do this and we cannot do that. But we must all be on a fair and balanced playing field. after all that would only be fair. as for a higher wage you must be living in Colorado where the air is full of smoke or that is what you were doing when you wrote this article. Believe it or not we are in Competition with each other this is a business not a 5 year olds T ball Game.

  • SHP

    No Barney they will pass it on to the customers. Just like everything else it will raise the price and be passed on.

  • PattyCakes

    Will the fool(s) who believe that the industry is going to lay out more compensation to those ‘ who do work ‘, when the same Lawmakers who want ‘ Amnesty for 20 million+ Illegal Aliens ‘, because they ” do the work that Americans just won’t do ” …. Please Stand Up !

    Buehler … Buehler … Buehler … is this thing on ?

    Hey Utah … please forward the above to the schmucks in DC ( after break of course ).

  • Barney

    Yeah, but what I meant was, that they will not increase drivers pay

  • g

    They better do Something..since they are LIMITING a driver’s ability to
    work long hours and drive More miles..and we are PAID BY THE MILE???
    What now Geniuses??? We are NOW Losing money with yer Nifty Program.

  • g

    Ha ha!! yea…theJOKE is always on the Driver…the Execs will POCKET any extra Pay money!!! lol…..always the same crap…I almost forgot.

  • daslme

    I’m a OO and have long ago stopped charging by the mile because of wait times and shipper receiver schedules. If 200 miles takes 8 hours and a overnite like most do now a days I charge for the use of my truck for 24 hours instead of $2.00 a mile and the promise of some sort of detention pay if I jump thru all the brokers hoops includeing paperwork. Cheap companies never agree to this so it also helps me weed out all the bottom feeders out there just looking for someone stupid enough to hall the frt for them.

  • daslme

    I’m a OO and have long ago stopped charging by the mile because of wait times and shipper receiver schedules. If 200 miles takes 8 hours and a overnite like most do now a days I charge for the use of my truck for 24 hours instead of $2.00 a mile and the promise of some sort of detention pay if I jump thru all the brokers hoops includeing paperwork. Cheap companies never agree to this so it also helps me weed out all the bottom feeders out there just looking for someone stupid enough to hall the frt for them.

  • daslme

    I’m a OO and have long ago stopped charging by the mile because of wait times and shipper receiver schedules. If 200 miles takes 8 hours and a overnite like most do now a days I charge for the use of my truck for 24 hours instead of $2.00 a mile and the promise of some sort of detention pay if I jump thru all the brokers hoops includeing paperwork. Cheap companies never agree to this so it also helps me weed out all the bottom feeders out there just looking for someone stupid enough to hall the frt for them.

  • waiting to go broke

    How are the rates going to go up , when people making the cheap rates are the big trucking companies that already have cheap rates !

  • BIGRED

    In this business>>>>>pick up freight, deliver freight and get paid<<>>>>E-LOGS will stop this PERIOD. END OF DISCUSSION!!!!

  • ron

    I got over 20 years experience with a clean record and a casa score of zero and only thing I haven’t pulled is oversize loads and do in research on pay and with my record best pay I could find was 35 cpm, what a joke and I am looking to get out of this industry

  • Rick

    It will raise the rates to the shipper. The shipper will complain. The driver will ultimately suffer as a carrier tries to keep the customer happy. That’s how it works now. That’s how it will continue to work. Carriers will not enforce a rate increase so as to keep a customer. That’s why carriers currently don’t try for detention pay very hard.

  • ken markham

    If you all would like to do something about it call Bill Shuster’s office he’s the chairman of the house transportation committee and a tea party favorite. These tea party congressmen and women are heavily funded by C3PO,s like Heritage Foundation (walmart, hunt, Koch bros,etc.), Citizens United (Koch Bros, United Health, BP, etc.this is the group that bought the money should free speech status and corporations should have the same rights as the people, except when it comes to accountability,taxes and persecution).I know a good number of you think that government only gets in the way, and of course they do much of the time, but they are accountable. Do you want to be represented by Schneider National, JB Hunt, Walmart, Holiday Petro (Koch Bros), or by the people for the people. What matters most to our government reps is their next check, our vote and voice count. Call your representatives let them know how you feel,get involved if you want to make changes. Do you find yourself saying someone should do this or that? How about you? If you can’t how about an OOIDA membership, $45 goes a long way and its tax deductable, company drivers can always form their own unions as well or contact teamsters, or amalgamated drivers. Before Reagan deregulated transportation alot of drivers were union. We were well paid, had great benefits at low prices, and we were well represented.

  • Tom T

    I fully agree. OOIDA is the next best representation and help for truckers
    along with the unions. Lets not however,
    lay all this on one party my friend. We
    can also start listing some of the biggest
    Democrat contributors, and we can start
    with the ACLU, and the personal injury
    and tort lawyers and GE, and the pro-
    open border and illegal immigrant
    Mexican legal defense fund, and all
    the corporations that want outsourcing
    and relaxed immigration requirements
    for cheap labor. I`ll be happy to list a
    lot more that do not have our & the
    American driver`s interests in mind. Be
    careful when picking sides when it
    comes to politics my friend, some of the
    people you throw mud at may very be
    helping the people who want to hurt
    us the most, in other words, lets stick
    with the issues. Obama care anyone??

  • Tom T

    Just to set the record strait, it was Jimmy
    Carter who signed de-regulation into law
    and companies that vested rights and
    used them for collateral started going
    out of business. I know, I was a Teamster
    and worked for 7 of them soon after I
    started went out of business. I am also
    a lifelong member of OOIDA and a
    retired Teamster with a pension and
    was also an O/O for 15 yrs. out my 45
    years of driving. This is when the big
    outfits, the JB`s and the Schneiders
    swooped in, cut the rates, got rid of the
    unions, changed the company names
    and we all starved to death. Many still
    are.

  • RichieC

    I see the future……..drivers from a pool…reagionaly supplyed….moving 9 hours at a time to the turn around / return point. Pay will be for all drivers exactly min wage plus 2 dollars. The exception will be teams supplied by the major carriers who will also be paid almost minumum wage. Its about time the drivers accept that they are considered UNSKILLED LABOR and the notion that they should be paid a good wage for doing what all americans do for free is prospotorious. Im so happy that MAP 21 has gotten the drivers in line.
    Now the way is cleared for the corps to raise prices…and the public will still beleive that its the evil truckers causing it.
    NAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH…………REVOLUTION….REVOLUTION…..SGUT EM DOWN…SHUT EM DOWN !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Tom T

    Smart move. It only gets worse from here.

  • g

    all equal like communism…Russia, China, before captalism….equal with a Farm Animal. The RICH will do the thinking……slavery is what it really is.

  • Rich Miller

    Level the playing field? What a joke. This is a business. Nobody forced these companies to install ELDs. I see the benefits for large fleets to install them in order to better manage their fleet. However it might not as beneficial to a one truck owner. Since no business application is the same it should be a choice to install ELDs. Lastly, if we are going to level the playing field I’m guessing that all the one truck owners will now be receiving the same tax breaks, and bargains on new equipment( trucks, trailers etc) as the large fleets.

  • g

    This talk is like the Carrot for the Donkey. More PAY?? You have got to be kidding…Santa will bring more pay…..they want all truckers to be obediant robots…the MODEL is the UPS DRIVER….everything will be MONITORED and the driver has no need to Think….just OBEY.

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  • g

    We are going to see ALOT of skilled journeymen Truckers leaving the industry…..I dont think they are ready for the Mayhem on the highways when MOST truck drivers are basically NEW and “trying it out”..should be interesting and watched from AFAR. These “EXPERTS” seem to think driving a truck is EASY..and just ANYBODY can do it…as long as they follow the ANNE FERRO playbook…..with high tech gadgets. I dont know ANY veteran Trucker that will agree with that. I predict MASSIVE amounts of ACCIDENTS….and total chaos as this NEW TRUCKING moves forward.

  • jan johnson

    For every hour we work without pay is slave labor. What it is the government isn’t getting any tax money on all this slave labor. So if they fix it that throws us all in a higher tax bracket so the more money they rack In for the government. We work long hour’s for time +time in a half. So it will keep us at 40 hour’s a week because they don’t want to pay over time. Plus we can’t go home we want make a check unless we make $30.00. An hour. No one wants to pay for our work. While guy’s if I can’t make a check I’m going home. How about you?

  • Mike Smith

    This article is more BS that is trying to get us to support giving up our privacy, and our freedom of movement.

    If ELD is so good then let the market DECIDE it by letting those who want to use it to use it, AND those that don’t want to use it not have to use it.

    Overdrive address this simple clear cut idea.

  • Moon Lite Trucker

    And just how is the detention pay going to help those of us that have only one truck and operate it ourselves. I have established myself by my reputation of being on time and delivering products when promised. The only way those of us who are independent operators is to force the suppliers to pay detention or pay 25-30% more for freight. We gain nothing from detention pay because we would only be taking it out of one of our pockets and putting it the other pocket. ELD’s don’t allow for down time when waiting to be loaded. The national carriers aren’t the ones who will be hurt. It’s those of us who have only 1 of a few trucks that will be driven out of business. We are the ones who go where the national carriers don’t want to go or will add a surcharge due to lack of backhaul loads. Take us out of the equation and a guaranteed increase in the cost of living (due to inflation) will hit this country like a nuclear bomb. We haul the loads the national companies don’t want to mess with. It is almost unanimous among the “old school” drivers I’ve talked to that we will park our rigs when the

  • Castro blind side

    We all got to go back in time when protecting got things done if all the truckers would just stop and walk away from their trucks and just leave them on the highway of America we will get what’s fair and justify. We got to stop letting this government run us out business remember they need us this country need us because with out us this country stops.