Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg seems to be working to spread the word about the unfair treatment of truckers, recent interviews show.
The recent supply chain disruption and subsequent backlog at ports across the country have brought the flaws behind traditional compensation of drivers to the surface. Under the current standards, most truck drivers get paid nothing for time spent waiting outside of ports or warehouses, and they could spend hours waiting and receive nothing for it.
“What used to be as fast as 10 to 20 minutes is taking three to four hours now,” one trucker out of Charleston said to Insider. “You can wait for hours on end before they even check you in and get nothing for it.”
“In too many environments, from warehouses to ports, there is no cost to wasting a trucker’s time,” Buttigieg said in a recent interview. “We’ve got to fix that.”
This week at an event at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Buttigieg mentioned that these ports have recently processed 14% more containers than the previous record, which allowed for 99% of packages from major shippers to arrive at their destination on time. He went on to say that, while this is good news for large businesses and consumers, truck drivers paid the price for this increase containers.
While the ports were able to process an increased numbers of containers, the number of cranes used to move the containers remained the same, and drivers were left sitting idle and unpaid for hours as the port worked to use their minimal number of cranes – one for every 50 to 200 trucks – to load the rigs.
“Think of going to the port as going to Walmart on Black Friday, but imagine only ONE cashier for thousands of customers,” said one driver in a recent online piece.
“[How much should truckers get paid?] Enough to show respect and regard for the fact that they are the very definition of essential workers,” Buttiggieg said.