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Washington state bill would bar owner-operators from port

| February 22, 2013

Seattle portWashington House members are considering bills to requiring Port of Seattle to bar owner-operators and altering the state’s definition of independent contractors.

On Feb. 21, the House labor executive committee was to review HB 1719, which stipulates Seattle’s port could use only employee drivers for transporting containerized cargo other than agricultural products. It also mandates that these employee drivers be covered under state public employee collective bargaining laws.

During Feb. 19 testimony, the committee heard the legislation could be affected by the outcome of the American Trucking Associations’ lawsuit against the Port of Los Angeles. The Supreme Court will hear the ATA’s case against the port’s trucking concession requirements April 16.

The court will consider issues including whether banning a carrier’s port access is a partial suspension of its federally granted operating authority and thereby outside state authority.

An amendment was introduced to remove requiring loading and unloading be done only by employees, but expanding the driver employee rule to Port of Tacoma.

The Washington Trucking Association testified truckers make a choice to become owner-operators rather than company drivers. They can increase earnings by hauling longer distances than drayage and the significant driver shortage also means truckers do not have limited employment options.

The bill would bankrupt too many trucking companies serving the port, the WTA added.

Bill supporters say the legislation is necessary for owner-operators to upgrade equipment to cleaner standards and to provide a better wage and working conditions.

The labor executive committee already has cleared separate legislation that includes a new test to determine status as an independent contractor or employee. The House finance committee was to review HB 1440 Feb. 18, which would abandon the state’s use of several multipart tests in determining employee classification.

WTA and others against HB 1440 have said it would create an unlevel playing field by increasing underground work activity. It would convert too many contractors into employees and current law should be better enforced.

Federal preemption legal issues exist with this bill as well, opponents said.

Conversely, bill supporters say misclassification harms legitimate businesses, workers and taxpayers because it results in money not being paid into the state system.

HB 1440 has 27 sponsors while HB 1719 has 23 sponsors.

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  • Bruce Kolinski

    Sounds like time for all independent Owner-Operators to stop hauling to and from the State of Washington? Let ’em have their State mandated union monopolies. America is no longer recognizable to a free person.

  • Dennis Hartford

    Add CA and OR in with Washington State as well as A few east coast states and all those people can sit around and try to figure out how to get food, clothing, etc.

  • Don Lanier

    I think its time the Truckers of Washington state start voting out any Legislature who believes that Independent truckers arent worthy well that works both ways, The Big Compnies that PAID FOR this vote need a little lesson on who is there when the going gets tough, The OO….Time to organize and vote Guys and gals, and yes make your presence known….stand up or be tossed out like trash…

  • tryin

    How can any state bar any truck from any port when the ports fall under the feds?

    I look at what California is doing with CARB, they can’t tell an out of state truck “no you don’t have the right equipment so you can’t enter our state” when the truck’s home state allows it on their road. The feds only have the right to regulate the interstate commerce and it is there to prevent a lack of access to other state’s markets and ports. This issue seems to have been decided with truck routes beyond the interstate highway system and court cases where they applied the interstate commerce clause to regulate things like how much wheat can be grown for personal use.

    I don’t understand why the OOIDA takes on things like farm trucking but doesn’t even touch CARB or the port issues.

  • Dave Nichols

    So when the socialist movement gets through with the country, they will have a captive voting base so they can retain power forever. that is whatthis is all about. nothing more. They do not care how much you earn, only that you vote for them, based on what free stuff they give you.

  • John Forker

    omg is there ANY common sense left in America ? O my mistake, what was I thinking. This debate is being pounded out on the floor of a state that legalized dope ! I think the house members need to back away from the bong and pull their head out of their !@#%@#!

  • WiJim

    The Ninth Amendment simply lends strong support to the view that the “liberty” protected by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments from infringement by the Federal Government or the States is not restricted to rights specifically mentioned in the first eight Amendments. Cf United Public Workers v. Mitchell, 330 U.S. 75, 94-95. I would say this would also include the rights of individuals to work without them being forced to be represented by Gov’t or another entity such as a Union.



  • martymarsh

    This is the unions pushing this garbage, let’s see the freight prices go up with these clowns.

  • martymarsh

    I must add, they will have nothing but union carriers getting it out of the ports and taking it to warehouses for O/O to pick up at a much lower rate.

  • TEE

    What happened to free trade in the US???

  • retired trucker

    So incorporate, then you are an employee of your corporation.

  • Paul D.

    I think the story must be leaving out some important info. Is the state really wanting to ban o/O’s, or are they simply trying to close the loopholes the companies use. I’ve driven out of the ports for 30 years(22 with one company). Am I really Independant or a employee? If they want to give us employee status and collective bargaining rights, we can form associations and have rates raised to actually pay us a good rate to haul the containers.

  • wishbone

    its time to shut down this government


    Washington, Oregon, California, New York, New Jersey, and Virginia are all on our list of states to which we do not deliver to. Any states in between those states which we do not deliver to and those states beyond them – – – oh well!

    Sorry, is all I got to say whenever you have a state of emergency and need us. I ain’t going, period!

    So when I stop at the Virginia line because I don’t do VA, sorry to DC, MD, DE, PA, (NJ – we don’t do you either), NY – you can forget it too), CT, RI, MA, ME, and every other state up there. Same thing for the left coast. We can find enough loads to deliver to states which we have not yet added to our list.

    And there is not one thing you can do because I (and others) decide not to do.

    Since I believe big companies are actually the ones behind most of this, then let them haul there. But when those companies don’t serve you well or charge you out the bottom of your pocketbooks, don’t a come calling. I will turn a deaf ear to you.

    As more and more states decide to join you, I can go home. I am at the point of becoming self-sufficient. I have been planning this for years. And anything else I may need which I don’t have – my God will provide (or else I don’t truly need it)!

    I will most politely step aside and let these idiots have at it.

    HOWEVER, as far as local laws and rules which are being made which affect my rights: look-out, I will see you in court if you attempt to enforce them against me. Just waiting on a good lawsuit to tie you up in court.

    As far as trying to get truck drivers to stand together, you can forget that too! We can only depend on standing up for ourselves. IF enough were to do that, it would be good. But you can’t even get two drivers to agree to stand firm together anymore. It’s all about dog eat dog now!!!

  • realist

    YOU POOR POOR STUPID OWNER OPERATOR. no pension no insurance no 401 k. you guys have nothing but a truck. think about your old age when you can not hustle no more and your family still needs you to provide. WAKE UP.

  • realist

    UPS & ABF & YELLOW TRUCKS or a few trucking company with unions. i work for ups and i laugh at all these rich owner operators everyday dummies. LOLLOL

  • Pingback: Washington state bill would bar owner-operators from port Jill Dunn | February 22, 2013 |

  • Dave

    The problem with this. Well, theres numerous problems. But, if it goes through in Seattle,L.A. ports. They’ll start doing it everywhere. Most of my drivers go to these ports and railyards. To be home more and still try to make a living. I have nice,reliable trucks,and so do my owner operators. But we’re not buying $100,000 trucks to pull junk containers. My drivers are still contractors. And what the hell makes the difference. How about getting on to the ports and rails about making their equipment nicer and safer.So,do i get a break for highway tax per truck to.And a federal tax break. Since you know our taxes go into all this. I’ve got news for ya. If your waiting OOIDA.Keep on sending them money for your little patch and stickers.Thats all your going to get from them anymore. It use to be different. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.