Industry news

| December 12, 2008

“This storm has motivated a lot of people,” Stewart says. “They’ve got all this freight coming their way.”

The union seeks intermodal truckers serving the Port of Miami, Port Everglades and local rail yards, says Mike Scott, Local 769 president.

“We are taking applications from drivers who have canceled their independent contractor leases or who are not currently leased to motor carriers,” Scott says. “Hundreds of drivers are telling us they want to work as employee owner-operators with all the rights under U.S. labor law to which other employees are entitled.”

Members’ seniority is based on when they register with the hiring hall. The union expects to announce a list of carriers who have committed to hiring Teamsters. Union representatives are negotiating with carriers in Miami and Charleston, Stewart says.

“Every one of the companies who said three months ago they would sell the company if its drivers went union are now sitting down and talking with us,” Stewart says.

Establishing a hiring hall in Miami was recommended this past spring in a city report after an owner-operator protest in 2004 brought the Port of Miami to a standstill.

California Gov. Arnold Schwar-zenegger signed legislation Sept. 22 prohibiting ocean carriers, railroads and marine terminal operators from imposing excessive charges on motor carriers when they are delayed by events beyond their control.

Such events include port gate closures, labor disruptions, unanticipated equipment diversions, terminal congestion – even weekends and holidays.

“By prohibiting the assessment of fees on truckers which are triggered by time-sensitive events beyond their control, this new law should serve to better allocate the costs of operations,” says Curtis Whalen, Intermodal Motor Carrier Conference executive director.

Bill Graves, American Trucking Associations president and CEO, hopes other states will follow California’s lead. “This law will hopefully improve the operational and work environment of the port trucking community,” Graves says.

The law also prohibits intermodal marine equipment providers from terminating or suspending the motor carriers’ equipment interchange rights when the carriers exercise their rights to take disputes to a third party.

Owner-operator John Ruthvin of Frederick, Md., was named 2005 Maryland Worker of the Year by Dickies workwear.

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