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Overdrive Staff | June 02, 2011

MANUFACTURING activity expanded in April for the 21st consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 23rd consecutive month, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s latest Manufacturing ISM Report on Business.

TRUCKING JOBS in April grew by 4,500 positions as part of 244,000 nonfarm jobs added on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compared to April 2010, the number of jobs in for-hire trucking was up 41,600, or 3.4 percent.

SURFACE TRADE between the United States and Canada and Mexico rose 12 percent to $66.5 billion in February from February 2010, reported the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation.



California bill targets owner-operators

California’s Assembly is considering legislation to require truckers working ports to be classified as employees.

If the Assembly passes that bill, AB 950, it will go to the Senate. Democrat Assembly Speaker John Perez sponsored the bill, which would, in effect, ban owner-operators from working state ports.

The Assembly’s labor and employment committee voted 5-1 to pass the measure on May 4.

A California bill would essentially do away with owner-operators who work ports by classifying them as employees.

The Assembly’s analysis of the bill noted that many organizations have voiced opinions on the bill, with trucking and business organizations opposing it and labor organizations backing it.

The legislation is “the first step to eliminating independent owner-operators throughout the trucking industry,” wrote the California Trucking Association. “Today, it is the ports. Tomorrow it will be agriculture, construction, and over the road.”

Bill supporters say owner-operators cannot afford to upgrade and maintain their vehicles to California standards and that the bill would result in owner-operators having access to health insurance through trucking company employers.

In 2005, the California Legislature approved a bill, sponsored by the Teamsters Public Affairs Council. It would have utilized the state doctrine of federal anti-trust law to authorize port owner-operator drivers to organize collectively. Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill because he said it could violate federal anti-trust law.

The American Trucking Associations has appealed a lower court’s ruling in favor of the Port of Los Angeles’ requirement that port truckers be carrier employees. Oral arguments will begin June 10 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

Ports nationwide have lobbied to replicate the Los Angeles port plan.

— Jill Dunn



SHORT HAULS

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