The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is taking aim at what it refers to as the “mythical” truck driver shortage in a letter to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
OOIDA executive vice-president Lewie Pugh writes that more than 400,000 commercial licences are issued a year, and cites a U.S. Department of Labor finding that high turnover at large carriers was one of the reasons behind a perceived shortage.
The letter comes in the wake of the International Trade Administration’s Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness’ call for the department to “take a leadership role to coordinate federal agencies to immediately address the driver shortage that threatens the effectiveness of the nation’s critical supply chains.”
“For decades, our country’s largest motor carriers and the trade associations that represent them have perpetuated the myth of a driver shortage to promote policies that maintain the cheapest labor supply possible,” Pugh says.
“A few areas that need urgent attention from federal regulators and lawmakers include increasing truck parking capacity, providing fair levels and methods of compensation, repealing the exemption that denies truckers guaranteed overtime pay, better driver training programs, and eliminating excessive detention time,” Pugh adds.
“Addressing these inefficiencies will repair supply chain vulnerabilities in a far more sustainable manner than simply allowing more drivers to enter the industry.”
OOIDA voiced those opinions during a roundtable last month with the secretaries of the U.S. Department of Transportation and Department of Labor, which focused on best practices to prioritize retention and limit turnover.
“The Department of Commerce, along with the Administration’s Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, must prioritize resolving the underlying circumstances that have led to excessive churn. Otherwise, we anticipate turnover rates will remain precariously high or even increase no matter how many new drivers are eligible to enter the industry,” Pugh says.
OOIDA represents 150,000 members.
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