Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Unions: Poor Authority on Port Authority

bloombergThe Journal of Commerce had some words for Bloomberg in the wake of his announcement that he will fall in line with Teamsters bid to re-regulate America’s trucking industry. Well, that’s not what the Teamsters are calling it exactly… they are calling their initiative “green” and “environmentally friendly.”  But you get the idea.

The Journal of Commerce reported the following:

Newark, N.J., Mayor Booker joins Bloomberg, Teamsters in call for federal regulatory changes. The mayors of New York and Newark, N.J., surprised the trucking industry – as well as the bi-state port authority – by announcing on Sunday their support for a clean-trucks program that would make it possible for labor unions to organize harbor truck drivers. Mayors Mike Bloomberg of New York and Cory Booker of Newark not only endorsed a clean-trucks program modeled after the controversial one in Los Angeles, but the mayors also said they support an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act to grant port authorities regulatory authority over harbor trucking. […]

As for the Teamsters strategy, JOC continues:

The Teamsters’ strategy is therefore to find union-friendly mayors to announce support for an amendment to the F4A. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was the first mayor to announce support, and he was followed by Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums. The announcement Sunday by Bloomberg and Booker caught the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey by surprise as well.

Mayors of other major port cities beware. Baltimore, New Orleans, Tampa, Mobile, Houston.  You’re on notice.

Long Beach Press Telegram explains who stands to win what:

At the heart of the matter is a little-known piece of federal law, the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act, or FAAAA, which effectively allows companies to classify drivers as non-employees, or “independent owner-operators,” who get paid by the load and are made responsible for their own trucks, maintenance, fuel, insurance, tires and other necessities. […] The debate goes back to 1980, when Congress passed the Motor Carrier Act of 1980, ending decades of tight federal control of the trucking industry enacted during the depths of the Great Depression and opening the door for thousands of new, non-unionized firms to flood the market with drivers paid not by the hour, but by the load.

Overhead on these new companies was low as they generally didn’t offer health benefits, retirement packages or overtime – an advantage that quickly allowed them to capture a large share of the market from the large, unionized firms. Within a few years of the law, membership in the International Brotherhood of Teamsters had been decimated, and in and around the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, virtually exterminated.

Now, unions want back what was taken “oh so many” years ago.

Categories: Center for Union FactsEFACNewsPolitical MoneyTeamsters