OOIDA says that driver shortage is a “myth” that is only needed to find cheap labor
A large commercial truck company recently told the US Department of Commerce that the real reason of the driver shortage lies in big staff turnover.
Earlier in a meeting of the Office of International Trade`s Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness (ACSCC), industry officials pressed to act Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and take immediate action to address the “truck drivers` shortage”, what as they said threatens the national supply chain.
In response to allegations of a drivers` shortage, Levi Pugh, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), wrote a letter to Raimondo on August 24.
“As the largest trade association representing small business of truck drivers and professional truck drivers, our members reject the mythical drivers` shortage, especially claims of “record high level of drivers` shortages” – OOIDA said.
OOIDA also pointed out in a 2019 US Department of Labor report that “there was no indication of a drivers` shortage when the problem was investigated”
The letter explicitly states: “Over the years our nation`s largest road carriers and trade associations that represent them have perpetuated the myth of drivers` shortage in order to promote policies that support the cheapest-possible labor. We urge the Department of Commerce to follow the example of the Department of Transportation (DOT) and finally focus on improving drivers` retention to address supply chain disruptions rather than expanding driver pools.”
OOIDA pointed to industry pain points that they say contribute to driver turnover:
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. For instance, a majority of OOIDA members who operate under the 60 hour/7-day rule and those who operate under the 70 hour/8-day rule spend between 11 and 20 hours each week waiting to load or unload their truck. Additionally, drivers are allocating more and more of their on-duty time searching for safe parking locations due to capacity shortfalls in every region of the country. Addressing these inefficiencies will repair supply chain vulnerabilities in a far more sustainable manner than simply allowing more drivers to enter the industry.