Today, U.S. Senators introduced a bill to “ensure that truckers are compensated fairly for the hours that they are on the clock.
The Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers Act was introduced September 12 by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.). The bill would repeal the motor carrier provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), which excludes many truckers from overtime protections enjoyed by other workers.
A similar bill was introduced in the House by Representative Andy Levin (D-Mich.) in April 2022. It has not moved forward since it was introduced.
The bills were introduced following the publication of U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) issued a Freight and Logistics Supply Chain Assessment in February 2022. In the report, USDOT recommended that Congress repeal the motor carrier provision of the FLSA in response to high driver turnover rates and compensation issued in the trucking industry in order to ease stress on the supply chain.
“Truck drivers are the engines of our economy, ensuring that everything from consumer goods to commodities reach their destination on time,” said Senator Edward J. Markey. “Outdated labor regulations have denied these vital workers overtime, leading to high turnover and supply chain disruptions. Don’t be fooled by the trucking companies’ crocodile tears. There is a simple way to recruit and retain drivers: increase their pay. The Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers Act does exactly that by eliminating the overtime exemption. I am proud to work alongside Senator Padilla on this legislation and am committed to ensuring that truck drivers receive the respect and rightful pay that they’ve earned.”
“America’s truck drivers are on the frontlines of keeping goods and our economy moving. In fact, more than 70 percent of goods across the United States are shipped by truck,” said Senator Alex Padilla. “Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting supply chain crisis aggravated persistent hardships for truckers, including long hours spent waiting—often unpaid—to load and unload goods. As our nation makes historic investments in our port and supply chain infrastructure, I’ve introduced this legislation to improve wages and working conditions for these essential workers and build the foundation for good-paying, stable trucking jobs.”
The bill is supported by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, OOIDA, the Truck Safety Coalition, the Institute for Safer Trucking, Parents Against Tired Truckers, and CRASH.
OOIDA noted when the House version of the bill was introduced that the original intention of the FLSA overtime pay exemption for truckers was to prevent them from working too many hours.
“We know that for too long, too many people throughout the supply chain have placed little or no value on a driver’s time. This is partly because of the FLSA overtime exemption,” said Todd Spencer, President & CEO of OOIDA. “Shippers, receivers and carriers have never been forced to account for all the hours that they keep drivers waiting, since it costs them nothing to do so. By repealing the FLSA exemption, this bill would help make sure that drivers are compensated for all the hours they work. We thank Rep. Levin for finally standing up for truckers on this issue.”