Overdrive Magazine

Overdrive February 2019

Issue link: https://dmtmag.uberflip.com/i/1076949

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8 | Overdrive | February 2019 Visit Senior Editor Todd Dills' CHANNEL 19 BLOG at OverdriveOnline.com/channel19 Write him at tdills@randallreilly.com Twitter: @channel19todd If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times: "If the Department of Labor didn't classify us as unskilled labor … ." e conclusion that typi- cally follows is that the issue at hand, which is o en compensation, would be better for drivers. A video issued in December from the TruckerNation (TN) advocacy group does a good job of debunking the myth that truckers fall into any o cial "unskilled" classi cation. DOL doesn't even have such a category, as TN's Andrea Marks explains, though the Social Security Administration comes closer to it. ere, depending on CDL endorsements and other fac- tors, drivers are classi ed as "skilled" or "semi-skilled," she says. Never "unskilled." What the video doesn't get to is the topic that typically comes up when I ask someone to clarify the source of the "unskilled" categorization. e individual then invokes the exemp- tion from overtime-pay protections for DOT-regulated motor carrier employee drivers. at exemption was codi ed as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. ere's been no shortage of talk about the seeming absurdity of an industry regulated by the hour but paid by the mile, for sure. More seriously, you don't have to look far to nd past advocacy e orts centered on the theory that removal of the motor carrier exemption from overtime-pay requirements for safety-sensitive workers would force a better standard of compensation for company drivers and, by extension, promote better in- come conditions for owner-operators. Much energy is being expended by attorneys and drivers suing carriers over state meal and rest breaks in California, as detailed in our cover story on page 28, and by carrier interests hoping to overturn the outlier court action that is enabling these suits. In such an environment, changing the FLSA's motor carrier exemption doesn't seem to gure into compensation conversation so much of late. But if the many owner-operators who see the electronic logging device mandate as creating conditions that give rise to arguments for that change are right, and considering the fact of more carriers moving to salary-type compensation models (an advocacy of a kind), maybe it's high time for changing that exemption. TRUCKERS CLASSIFIED AS 'UNSKILLED LABOR'? NOPE Find the truckers-are-un- skilled-labor debunking video from TruckerNation via the Channel 19 Dec. 19 blog post. " Cheap drivers aren't skilled, and skilled drivers aren't cheap! " – Tim, via OverdriveOnline.com " Even though I am paid percentage, I believe I should be paid for all my working time, as I consider my time valuable, even though shippers/re- ceivers and brokers do not. ... If detention pay became an industry standard, brokers would be forced to follow the standard. Getting a rate con rmation sheet that says the customer doesn't pay detention should be declined by responsible carriers and independents. " – Earl Harris, via OverdriveOnline.com " Maybe we recruit so many [drivers] that they have become disposable. In essence, we have been turning up the faucet without closing the drain. ... We have to nd ways to keep drivers wanting to stay so we can succeed in our industry and you get your shipment on time. " – Trucker Je Clark, writing on the website of TV and radio host Michael Smerconish about how trucking has cried wolf over the driver shortage so much that "just like the villagers in Aesop's fable, we don't believe them anymore." Read the Nov. 29 post on the blog for further analysis.

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