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New bill would fix 85 year old law that prevents truckers from earning overtime pay

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Legislation reintroduced on Thursday would changing existing labor laws to guarantee overtime pay for truckers.

On November 9, 2023, lawmakers introduced the bipartisan Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers Act in both the House and Senate.

The bill seeks to repeal the motor carrier provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), which exempts truckers from receiving overtime compensation.

The bill was introduced in response to the publication of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) 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 issues in the trucking industry in order to ease stress on the supply chain.

The Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers Act was introduced by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), and Representatives Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02) and Mark Takano (CA-39). Co-sponsors include Senator and Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), as well as Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

The bill was introduced in both Houses last year but failed to advance.

The bill has the support of OOIDA, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Truck Safety Coalition, and the Institute for Safer Trucking.

“From the food we eat to the medical supplies we use in our daily lives, truck drivers make sure consumer goods and commodities reach their destination on time,” said Senator Markey. “However, for almost a hundred years, obsolete labor regulations have denied truck drivers their rightful pay, leading to high turnover and supply chain disruptions. Senator Padilla and I are reintroducing our Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers Act to fix this injustice and ensure that these vital workers receive their hard-earned overtime pay. I thank Senator Padilla for his continued effort in delivering fair pay for our truck drivers—the vital engines that keep our economy running.”

“America’s truck drivers are on the frontlines of our economy, enduring long hours away from home, and all too often, unpaid wait time at congested ports and warehouses. That’s because for decades, truck drivers have been excluded from overtime pay protections,” said Senator Padilla. “If truckers are forced to wait while on the job, they should be paid. This is not just a matter of fairness; it’s a matter of public safety. Experienced truckers are safer truckers, and better compensation will help more of them stay in the profession. It’s time we guarantee overtime for truckers.”

“Truckers are the backbone of our nation’s economy and an essential component of our supply chain. Without truck drivers, our country would be at a standstill,” said Representative Van Drew. “I am proud to join my colleagues in supporting the Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers Act to ensure these hardworking men and women are compensated fairly.”

“Truckers have been left out of overtime opportunities due to archaic standards,” said Representative Takano. “The impact of truckers on the supply chain to get Americans the goods they rely on entitles these workers to competitive wages. In an industry plagued with high turnover, the most common-sense solution is to guarantee overtime pay to drivers.”

“America’s truckers keep our nation’s economy moving, and without the hard work of these men and women, our supply chain would grind to a halt. Unbelievably, trucking is one of the only professions in America that is denied guaranteed overtime pay. We are way past due as a nation in valuing the sacrifices that truckers make every single day. This starts with simply paying truckers for all of the time they work. With this discount on a trucker’s time, ‘big trucking’ has led a race to the bottom for wages that treats truckers as expendable components rather than the professionals they are. We thank Senator Padilla for fighting to right this wrong by guaranteeing overtime pay for truckers through the GOT Truckers Act. This legislation is an investment in truckers, road safety, and America,” said Todd Spencer, President of OOIDA.

“Truck drivers have been denied overtime protections for nearly 100 years,” said Sean M. O’Brien, President of Teamsters General“The Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers Act rights this wrong, and would end this inexcusable abuse to hundreds of thousands of drivers across the country.”

“The FLSA Motor Carrier Exemption needlessly puts the lives of truck drivers and all roadway users at grave risk. The notion that it is acceptable for innocent people to die to avoid paying truck drivers for all their time is un-American. I am grateful to my home state Senator, Senator Padilla for taking action to eliminate this lethal loophole. The GOT Truckers Act will undoubtedly save lives and improve roadway safety for all,” said Tami Friedrich, President of Truck Safety Coalition.

“Repealing the overtime exemption for truck drivers is not just an economic issue, but also a safety issue. Experienced drivers are essential to keeping our roads safe, but too many are leaving the industry because they are overworked and underpaid,” said Harry Adler, Principal at the Institute for Safer Trucking. “The GOT Truckers Act would help to retain experienced truck drivers by providing them with the overtime pay they deserve. This would not only improve their quality of life, but also make our roads safer for everyone.”

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