Massive Investigation Conducted Over Treatment of Truckers
The trucking industry has always been one where work conditions can be tough. Drivers often voice their concerns about low pay and the pressures they feel from carriers. However, some situations are better than others. For some drivers, their work arrangement is so concerning it has warranted an investigation.
Thousands of low-income, immigrant workers on the West Coast have either reported or been reported about concerning their working arrangements. These workers, which are largely based off of two key ports in California, are said to be indebted to their employers.
Because of their situation, the drivers are subject to pay decreases. These changes can leave them earning pennies an hour for the work they do. It has also been reported that some of them drive up to 20 hours per day.
The ports where the drivers are based are busy areas. Even if the drivers were working at a low-traffic location, their work conditions would still be concerning on multiple levels. The locations where they are based handle the vast majority of American imports. This means the drivers not only contend with poor compensation and long hours, but they do so in one of the busier locations in the industry.
Larger companies like big-box retailers have been accused of perpetuating these situations in the past. By working with carriers who treat their drivers like this, the companies are able to cut costs and take advantage of the situation. While some of these companies face repercussions for their actions, they often use their large status and spend millions to find against worker protections.
Many of the problems concerning labor conditions in the port area of California actually arose from environmental regulations and other mandates. Carriers were pressured to adjust to the situation, and many simply chose to hire independent drivers rather than updating their own dedicated fleets according to the new laws.
The lease-to-own arrangements many drivers are forced into have been compared to sharecropping. While California state and federal officials have been informed about the situation, few have a vested enough interest to push for real change.