Group of OOIDA members, drivers issue letter to DOT in support of Anne Ferro

| June 21, 2014

A group of drivers and owner-operators representing diverse segments of the industry have issued an open letter to Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx contradicting the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s board of directors and executive management in the call for FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro’s resignation

In polling conducted in the wake of OOIDA’s call, upwards of 90 percent of Overdrive readers expressed support for the association’s move.  

The letter is signed by several members of the Trucking Solutions Group of owner-operators, among others. In news published June 20 at this link, a longtime TSG member, Scott Grenerth, was named OOIDA’s new Director of Regulatory Affairs. 

Text of the open letter follows:

We are writing to refute the position of the OOIDA Board of Directors and management requesting the resignation of FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro.

Related

Citing ‘bias against truckers,’ OOIDA calls for resignation of FMCSA head Anne Ferro

OOIDA has sent Anthony Foxx a letter asking for FMCSA head Anne Ferro to resign, saying she has a "clear bias against truckers and the trucking industry" and that the agency "can no longer perform its regulatory and enforcement duties impartially."

We are an industry-recognized group of very experienced professional truck drivers and business owners with millions of miles of safe driving.  Most of us are members of OOIDA and we respectfully disagree with our leadership on this issue. On a daily basis we observe the safety conditions on the highways while we engage in interstate commerce.

Administrator Ferro is the first FMCSA administrator that has made an extraordinary effort to reach out to our industry by personally conducting listening sessions at trucking shows and truck stops and by answering driver questions on the radio. She also makes herself available to professional drivers at industry events. We believe these actions demonstrate the extra effort she puts forth to gain the knowledge she needs to make some very tough decisions. Also, by actually mingling with the blue-collar people in the industry, she has fostered a unique safety culture in our industry. Never, before the introduction of CSA program, has safety been on the lips of so many industry leaders and professional drivers.

Administrator Ferro, in our opinion, “gets it.” She understands, and we strongly agree, that there is a correlation between compliance and safety. She also understands that the inequitable compensation standard is the fundamental issue that stands in the way of achieving the level of compliance required for a safer trucking industry, not only for other motorists but also for other professional drivers.

Related

Bill could require carriers to pay drivers for detention time

The Obama administration's highway bill provisions include driver compensation reform, including a requirement that carriers pay drivers for time spent on-duty but not driving.

Thus far, Administrator Ferro is the only person stepping forward and discussing the need for American truck drivers to be protected from unscrupulous management. We believe Administrator Ferro truly understands the trucker’s plight, demonstrated by her testifying before Congress regarding fair compensation for drivers. She then proposed that Congress pass legislation requiring truck drivers be brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act, like most other American employees. She recognizes that most truck drivers today, especially in the truckload sector, are experiencing increasing difficulty remaining financially solvent while operating in compliance with safety regulations.

Related

The scrum over mandatory detention pay

Following the Obama administration's nod to the notion of mandatory detention pay in its draft highway bill, debate has intensified over whether the federal government ought to be involved in detention at all.

We strongly support Administrator Ferro’s plan and believe Congress must cooperate with the FMCSA to accomplish their stated mission. Administrator Ferro has stated that part of the mission of the FMCSA is to raise the bar for both drivers and motor carriers. These kind of low-end operations create a “race to the bottom” mentality, which causes other companies to cut corners at the cost of safety. You can be sure her efforts are working because those bottom feeders are now circling their wagons. The FMCSA needs to continue putting pressure on these operations, forcing them to become mature, ethical businesses, or be run out of business.

Among our group of professionals, we are certain; this is the time to support Administrator Ferro and the FMCSA.

Jerry Fritts, American Overland Freight Services, 48 years driving
Henry Albert, Albert Transport, 31 years driving
Bob & Linda Caffee, Caffee Enterprises, 10 Years driving
Jeff Clark, Clark Trucking, 26 years driving
Tom Kyrk, 8 years driving
Jeannie Silk, 18 years driving
Rick Ash, Hat Trick Enterprises, 27 years driving
Shawn Hubbard, 14 years driving
Jimmy Nevarez, Angus Transportation, 12 years driving
David Wimot, 38 years driving
Scott Kinley, 17 years driving

  • jojo

    As long as there is not a pay standard in place, as long as the mega companies can dictate pay rates, as long as there are Drivers being paid .25cpm WE ALL SUFFER.
    .25cpm X 12,000 miles = $3,000.00
    $3,000.00 / 27days = $111.00
    $111.00 / 24hrs = $4.63 an hour.
    The average annual income for a Driver is approximately 36 to 38 thousand dollars.
    There is a Price to pay for Safety but as usual everybody wants everything as long as someone else is paying for it.
    As for me, I only want to help the Co OTR Drivers to realize that the amount of time that they spend away from home AT WORK does not even pay minimum wage in most cases.
    Cheap freight relies on cheap labor.

  • Rookie132001

    Wake up drivers . We half to run harder than ever to make money. We get less time at home. We were more rested with more than one restart. White can’t do the math right. We should all shut down. But nobody has balls any more. We the people should stand up and go down with fight.

  • gearjammer2000

    really this is why OOIDA is a toothless tiger, even their membership can’t stand together let alone stand as one to stop the BS that this industry has become.
    there was a time I made a decent living as a O/O but that is in the past the steering wheel holders today haven’t a clue what their time and dedication are worth.
    BTW I have gotten out of the business and have 2 traqctors and thee straight truck expeditors left if anyone is interested get back to me all are in good shape as I take very good care of my equipment

  • Born

    Lets Compare Actual Statistics Regaurding Accidents Caused By Owner Operators With Company Drivers And Automobiles. Give Me A Reason To Even Suspect My Segment Of The Industry Is Out Of Control And I Will Support More Regulation. Until Then Keep Your Pointed Little Nose Out Of My Business. One Size Does Not Fit All.

  • Shaggy

    These guys actually thought Anne Ferro And FMCSA was actually listening. What a bunch of fools, what was going to be done had already been decided, just like ELD’s already has and you can scream all you want but they have their orders and we can squawk all you want you are going to get the new regulations shoved down your throat. Look at the last listening sessions we asked for flexibility and what did you end up with more restrictions.

  • Craig

    If I have 34 hours off Sat-Sun, then for some reason or another get another 34 hours off Thurs-Fri or whatever, I am good to go. I should not be held to one 34 hour break in a 168 hour period. Hell, I just had 68 hours off, sounds pretty rested to me! For all the listening sessions, talk shows, BS media overnight trip in a large car, she didn’t take into account any words of wisdom from the thousands of truckers she spoke to. She has her own agenda, and that is probably to move on from this position to an even higher position. Hey, I know, how about head of the FAA, sure, c’mon, she’s never flown a plane but so what, it’s all about safety right?

  • cjmarley

    I’ve believed all along that the only person who should be in her seat is someone with actual real-world transportation experience. Would you want your plumber with no dental training filling in for a day at your dentist’s office?

  • Fageol

    I can think of no less than ten folks here in Alaska who could replace her in terms of actually working in the interests of moving freight via trucks. None of them are lawyers. All of them are competent individuals who have worked in more than one part of the trucking industry. At least three of them have held their own authority and those three have driven/owned/managed trucks down there in America.

    From what I saw of her letter (I sent a critique to Overdrive) Ms. Ferro is focusing on hours of service as opposed to alertness while on duty. She is focusing on more regulation which will make more work for bureaucrats, lawyers, and cops, while doing little for the working stiff. She is doing what Washington DC does best, growing government.

    Removing all of ‘em up to and including their boss is the answer.

  • Roger Simmoneau

    FMCSA may listen but they don’t hear Drivers.They seem to listen to everybody else. At the listening session I didn’t hear anybody mention 2 1to 5′s or a mandatory 30 minute break.where do they come up with these rules.if they are going to make changes why don’t wait until all the data in and a cost analysis.I have been driving 28 years no accidents. But if I’m sitting at a light and somebody hits me that on my record. How in the world did they think that up.I wonder if Ann Ferro was on the other side of the fence how she would feel about these HOS rules or CSA.We need somebody that know something about this lifestyle to be over the FMCSA.I thought when Ann Ferro got the job she would be the one but after all the new regulation I don’t think she up for the job.I would think everyone would want a standard on driver training.But then again company’s could not put just any steering wheel holder in a truck.Training will do more for Saftey than ELDS will ever do.They may help compliance but nothing for Safety.Electronics want make safe drivers.Well train driver might.I’ll have to take OOIDA side on this one.

  • http://www.AskTheTrucker.com Allen Smith

    When I respond to anything, I don’t worry if everyone is going to agree with me, I simply give my opinion. Who agrees or disagrees is irrelevant to me. I also will not “talk down” to anyone else who doesn’t agree with my opinion, nor try to force my opinion on others. I gave a simple comment, simple opinion. That’s it. The world and the FMCSA’s agenda will continue spinning with or without Ann Ferro.

  • Marty

    I’d like to think I’m seeing things, but I’m not. I’m guessing that this is part of the group that can be heard on the CB from time to time touting the greatness of Obama. It’ll be interesting to find out what their real agenda is. They are surely not speaking for me and what looks like about 96% of my colleagues.
    Marty 35 years.

  • Mike

    Well sad to say if we “drivers & industry ” as a whole shut down for 1 day & REALLY stuck together we might MIGHT get their attention.

  • Christie Fields

    Why don’t you enlighten us instead of just posting tin foil hat nonsense.

  • http://www.driveforfreedomfoundation.org Brian Carlson

    Good morning Kevin Rea,

    I would like to respond to you with out hurling insults. Mostly because I, and my wife are mature adults that find insults are very unproductive. With respect to your comment.

     

    I addressed the leadership breakdown with the Board at OOIDA by not sending a form letter to its membership base before writing the letter asking Ms. Ferro to resign in another forum.

    Look, America and its Professional truck drivers have never truly had a platform that has been successful. To where any of you have realized any kind of victory for the common truck driving Man/Woman.

     

    If we want to solve the more serious social and financial issues in trucking. Professionals need to do two things.

    One, place differences aside and agree in principal to achieve common goals. That means getting rid of derision and the resentment you have for you’re fellow driver. That’s hard when its partially drivers who have made drivers lives miserable. Due to poor truck and business management. Second, Put 2 million truck drivers on the same platform.

     

    Numbers=Power=restoration of all the freedoms you have lost. The Government, Agents and a whole host of other issues have choked the life out of so many drivers.

     

    But we must not spend all of our energy fighting the old rather focus on the new. I am a fellow driver. I respect you and would never call you names. I will still shake your hand, even though you called me a hypocrite with out knowing all the facts.

     

    My family and the rest of http://www.driveforfreedomfoundation.org really do care about drivers. So much so— that we created a Non fee based organization for you to have success. You do not have to charge a fee to be a serious org. People first–problems second–apllication of objectives to acheive success.

    But get past derision and hate and we can work together. We have some very respectable people as a part of this Foundation. Dignified, responsible, well presented clean truckers with a high degree of business acumen. Who are sick of this nightmare circus we call an Industry.

    So many people have been stolen from …time to hold those accountable. If you travel to Green Bay during the Football season. The DFF is under contract with Delaware North Sports service and the Packers for our third year raising money for great Americans like yourself. To build this Org. That has real potential.

    All the best in the months to come. Founder and Fellow Trucker.

    Brian & Jenny Ann Carlson (920) 455 0966

  • Zell

    That’s the trouble, u will never get better even on ELD, u’ll only work harder and waste more time at a rest area in the middle of nowhere.

  • Stormy

    “If you has a view” should be If you have a view. If you want to be the spelling police, you need to double check your grammar.

  • Kevin J. Reidy

    And “some” truckers are industry shills, like Team Run Smart members.

    Or lease operators who own nothing, and do as they are told by whomever they are beholden to.

    Anne Ferro is angling for her next job, she is going to leave soon anyway.

  • http://www.driveforfreedomfoundation.org Brian Carlson
  • Jeff Clark

    Why do I support Anne Ferro? Not one of your guesses has even come close. Do you realize that in 1984 the average trucker made $48,200, The average driver in 2103 made $37,700, Does anyone else see a trend? There is one major difference between 1984 and 2013, in 1984 drivers were paid for their time. In 2013 drivers hide on duty not driving time as off duty. ELDs will not fix that problem. OOIDA and Ferro both agree that drivers should log all time at the shipper as on duty not driving and get paid for it . So do I. While the majority of truckers insist on doing business as usual, Ferro, OOIDA and I have stood up for what will improve our lives and are pay checks.

  • jpminn

    seems to me that the majority of truck wrecks in the news are those from the bigger corporate carriers that jumped on the “safety bandwagon” and have EOBRs’, speed limiters, etc. and they are still having crashes because of driver inattentiveness-distraction, speeding, careless driving. ALL the safety crap doesnt’ seem to be helping that.

  • Jeff Clark

    Real driver wages have dropped significantly. In 1984 the average driver income was $48,200. In 2013 that dropped to $37,700, the biggest difference was drivers got paid for their dock time and they logged in on duty. Anne Ferro supports this. OOIDA supports this. I support this. Anne Ferro, OOIDA, and I support fair higher wages for truckers. That is why I support Anne Ferro.

  • mike

    A men brother I never come close to runing out of hours then again I do not haul cheap loads.my record is spotless except an axel overweight in 2006 why lump me with them mega carrier drivers that have wrecks all over the road? ability to split log with it not counting again your 14 would help with the parking allso .The way it is now there is less trucks then 2003 and a larger parking problem everyone shuts down at the same time.

  • ilovdieselsmoke

    I’m just glad someone has figured out her trucking plan. Sadly I don’t believe we are included in it other than the part about controlling stupid little monkeys in a barrel! Yes that’s about what the FMCSA leadership thinks of us. During road check 2014 I was stopped and asked why I had five days off duty in my book? I told this supposedly well trained young enforcement officer that I had replaced the heads on my engine the week in question. He informed me to make an entry in my log while he was standing there that my truck was broken down during that time! Yep first time in forty-seven years out here I’ve heard that one but I didn’t bother argue with him. Actually I wanted to inquire what would be proper to place in there if I had been at the beach partying with lot lizards for an entire week?

  • eddyl

    Everyone is focused on details.It would be helpful to step back and take a look at the big picture. This is an administration has a history of telling folks what they want to hear and then implementing their liberal idealology. Anne gives the impression of listening to us, but mark my word she is nothing more than a puppet for the liberals. Remember one of Obamas big supporters is Warren Buffett with his Burlington Northern RR and the liberals believe trains produce less harmful emissions.

  • shadow hauling

    No William I don’t and won’t use them and I’ll sit home and draw retirement and in 2 1/2 years social security before I do. Tell me that you haven’t seen drivers using them that get held up in traffic driving faster and taking more risk to make up that lost time ? What is it that is posted that isn’t real ?

  • LRT TRANSPORT

    You are spot on with damn near everything you post. Thanks for standing out, seeing a few people such as yourself give the future of this industry a sliver of hope. Thanks for thinking for yourself rather than just following the crowd. Much respect

  • sthomas1957

    The recent crash involving a Wal-Mart truck in New Jersey showed that the driver had only 30 minutes remaining on his 14-hour clock. Although he still had 1 1/2 hours driving time remaining, he was obviously going to run out of hours long before his driving time was up.
    Preliminary investigation into the crash indicates that the Wal-Mart driver was excessively speeding through a construction zone. This, most likely because he was being pressured into getting to his destination before his 14-hour clock ticked. A poor decision on his part, to be sure, but how many times have FMCSA employees had to call their spouses at the last minute and inform them that they won’t be home for dinner that evening because instead they have to spend the night on the side of the highway? I imagine not many.

    Anne Ferro isn’t the only one, but many of those at FMCSA and DOT make rules that they themselves don’t fully appreciate the effects of. Likely, there are some people involved in the Wal-Mart accident who would be with us today if not for that 14-hour rule.

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  • localnet

    Agreed. I ran e-logs for a few weeks, dedicated run. I was miserable and forced to do stupid things like this Walmart driver to stay in “compliance”, all to keep the front office happy. I had enough of that, and told the boss no more. I was back on paper the following night and no longer pressured to do what I knew was wrong and dangerous.

  • localnet

    That is what I was thinking too… That week at the beach! I always take the “Blitz” week off, just to avoid such stupidity.

  • localnet

    And how much do those regulations that Anne is pushing, along with the EPA, cost the trucking industry annually? There is your pay raise. Keep supporting fools…

  • localnet

    I hear some of you supporting Anne thinking that all of her shenanigans are somehow going to lead to higher pay. Well, I will state that that is just foolishness if not outright ignorance. Anne is regulating this industry to death. You guys that support this insanity actually think that there is no cost to this? These new regulations and compliance issues, along with our insane lack of a real energy policy, are NEEDLESSLY costing our industry billions of dollars a year.

    Everyone is paying for this administrations insanity, from the companies that make the trucks, shippers and receivers, the fuel stops, and right down to the kid in the yard that pushes the broom, if your company can afford such a person. This is where your pay raise is going, someone must pay for all of this nanny state nonsense, and unfortunately it is the driver that always takes the hit. Have any of you actually sat down and ran the numbers of how much it costs to employ a driver? We are not cheap, and with a government hell bent on regulating us right down to our potty break…

    It is a fine balancing act that is played out daily. I am actually surprised that the industry can pay as well as they do, despite the likes of Anne Ferro and the rest of the regulators sucking our industry dry.

  • AricS

    I could not agree more RichieC

  • james keller

    I would have to agree here. Numbers is power to change and as long as division is here then we will not get anything accomplished. Company drivers and O.Ops needs to come together as martin luther king and many others did in the 60′s to bring to america equality in our diverse races. To bring changes for the best outcomes for truckers has always got come from truckers pulling together here. Look at it this was company and O Ops we
    All are in this boat together lets rock the boat together as the 1980′s truckers was mad as hell and came together and brings forth changes in deregulations.

  • Don Miller

    I have about 30 yrs driving and am currently one of those owner ops leased to a carrier. I feel rushed using electronic logs, but also relieved when it says I am out of hours and must stop for 10 hrs. I think Ferro’s heart is in the right place on these issues as I have felt that drivers have been ill used and abused for a long time! We do lots of drop and hook loads and they generally allow us to leave an mt trailer and get our load and billing in under an hour, but when doing live loads, it takes an hour just to get a door and get them started loading. Our dispatch figures load time into load preplan but almost always sets it for and hour when many times it will take up to 4 hours to complete the load process. Then you have to go scale! Fourteen hour days just aren’t long enough some days..
    Getting two days off in a row were harder to do before the new hours of service restart went into effect. I like the two mornings off before restarting my logs, but it does complicate things if I want to go but my logging computer says I can’t go yet, but I am getting used to it. I am glad that we are having discussions about detention and hours of service now and that there is a possibility that something can be done to change things. I was a union driver for many of those 30 yrs driving and that helped some with work rules ect but not enough. Being represented by the union was similar to being represented by OOIDA sometimes. There were too many competing interests and the driver’s (not company owners and accountants) voice was by no means the loudest. We should just keep giving input when possible and hope the chips will fall our way now and then and make things better and Safer!!

  • http://www.driveforfreedomfoundation.org Brian Carlson

    James,

    This is a form letter we send to all new Drivers that join the DFF. It gives a brief overview of our goals. I will list the website at the bottom. We have 14 new drivers that are tired of talking and started doing. 142 to date and hundreds of supporters. Tone of work but a labor of love. it will be worth it when we win. Please check it out. All the best Sir.
    Dear Sir/Madame,

    My wife and I want to inform you that we did welcome you to a majority of the group that follows on Face Book, as well as a few of our colleagues in the business community.

    We are fortunate to have very respectable members on the Board & our Driver base is filled with Great American truckers who seek positive healthy change, for a business that has been long over due in many areas for improvement. As we grow you will become familiar with them.

    For many years we have had thousands of drivers claim we can never have Unity in the truest sense of the word. Even I have said it in passing, maybe you have as well?

    We will make certain folks have no need to utter those words again. We can have Unity, and we are achieving it 1 driver at a time.

    Our Mission and aim is to have the Nations largest Non Fee Based Organization with 3 million plus drivers working together for the greater good of all truckers in North America.

    We have no desire to alienate any other organization or place ourselves on any particular pedestal, rather accomplish what no-one else has ever accomplished.

    And ‘that’ is pull them all together. We do not need to be best friends with every member but we must all agree in principal to fix the issues. Correct the small problems… so we can correct the big ones.

    You must have a “Team Concept” its how any Championship is won. We seek no personal glory, rather victory for all. Truckers, Customers, Business Owners and all of their Family’s. For the betterment of every single person in North America

    This is a true grass roots movement that is being embraced everyday by Freshmen, Sophomore, and Senior drivers such as yourself.
    I am proud. We will achieve this goal with you.

    Much of our nations issues from the truck stop out—social or economical. Have never improved because of industry division. The way to tackle many of those issues is to Boost Morale and get drivers working together… to end the derision once and for all.

    Which has been the leading cause to many of trucking’s failures. That combined with a far overreaching Government, has stopped Unity from becoming a Reality.

    Many want it, Its up to us to get it. Once we begin to move forward with some speed. Others who have had passion for industry change, may be able to use our Unity to their advantage, lets do it together.

    Janice Smits our Treasurer, she has 20 plus years at the Bank that employs her. Terry Misfeldt has strong ties to Green Bay and is our Business consultant. Lrt Transport (Luke Ritchie) Is a proud owner and operates 3 trucks and we have elevated him to the board as he has shown amazing initiative.

    Ken Depew has much experience and has become a great friend, his record speaks for itself.

    Jason Metz has many years experience and the heart of a Lion and he is very bright.

    Robert Fiore also very experienced and can help us turn this around with the truckload of courage, character & professionalism he brings to the table.

    So all in all we are gaining some great leadership for our over-all mission. There are 1 hundred more things I could talk about but I will leave you with this final note.

    We have been invited back by Delaware North Sports Service and the Green Bay Packers for our third year to raise funds for the cause. We hope many more to come.

    We also hope to raise much more than what we have to this point. As the entire DFF dream has been by enlarge, family funded.

    Please go to the “We Help Up” page of the website to view the types of things we have done for Americas Great Truck Drivers. It’s what we do— but hardly the only thing we do here.

    However we intend on doing a great deal more, and on a scale much larger in the future than anyone has ever dreamt possible.

    With much respect I submit this, and we look forward to shaking your hand some day. Handshakes are like Gold. Much like the days of old, to which we at the DFF fully intend on returning our business. It was not perfect. But there was honor among Men.

    “From whence we came, to that we shall return. Believe it!”

    Thank you for you’re presence, it will never be taken for granted.

    Kind regards,
    Founder & Fellow Truck Driver DFF.Org,
    Brian & Jenny Ann Carlson
    http://www.driveforfreedomfoundation.org

  • Big R Phillips

    Thanks Mike! I knew something wasn’t right with that so called list of drivers.

  • http://www.AskTheTrucker.com Allen Smith

    It’s all explained in my post from last week on AskTheTrucker.com
    “Division or Awareness? Trucking’s Perfect Storm ”
    Todd referred to in an article he wrote 2 days later
    http://www.overdriveonline.com/perfect-storm-for-driver-issues-afoot/

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  • donovan

    She may have good intentions with the public hearings and such. But tell me one driver that would have come up with the laws she put into place? What’s the percentile of real truckers that support her laws? All the public hearings and community interaction in the world can’t make up for stupid decions based on no real fact or study. She is simply doing whatever she wants and using the interaction as a front to make herself look good. She says these lays only affect a small percentage of drivers. I’m Canadian and they have had a huge negative effect on my productivity. If its hitting me that way I can only imagine how it’s hitting the US only trucks! Good intentions mean nothing when they’re not backed by positive action!

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