On Dec. 16, the White House revealed a 90-day plan to build up the trucking workforce and begin initiatives for long-term improvements to the nation's supply chain.
According to the Biden-Harris Trucking Action Plan, the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force will work to create additional paid apprenticeship programs, help more drivers obtain CDLs, and to have the US. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the Labor Department partner on truck driver recruitment strategies.
"Trucking plays a critical role in the U.S. supply chain and economy. America’s truck drivers have been on the frontlines of this pandemic, delivering goods to every corner of this country," the White House said in a statement. "A strong, stable, and safe trucking workforce that offers good-paying jobs to millions of truck drivers is a critical lifeblood of our economy."
For more information on the plan: Biden’s trucking plan aims to beef up driver recruitment, training, and listening
Todd Spencer, president of the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association, traveled to Washington, D.C. on Dec. 17 to join the task force, but with a more driver-focused goal in mind.
“I’m hoping for the opportunity to point out the issues that need to change, need to be modified to actually increase the professionalism of truckers,” Spencer said in a video standing outside the USDOT. “[With the goal] to show that appreciation through actual words, deeds, and on a paycheck.”
“It’s not unreasonable for drivers to expect to be paid for their time on the job,” Spencer continued. “It’s too frequent and too common that drivers are held for anywhere as much as 30 hours a week just simply trying to work. Those kinds of core issues need to be addressed and we certainly want to be at the table to make certain that those issues are not only considered but acted on.”
Collin Long, director of government affairs at OOIDA, told FOX Business that Biden’s proposal is missing real substantial steps towards making careers more sustainable for drivers.
"They’re putting so much emphasis on bringing in more drivers and not enough on what you do once they’re in the field, how you get them to stay behind the wheel," Long said. "How do you make the job prosperous for them and safe for them? And a lot of that is what’s missing from the proposal."
Long went on to say that “one positive thing to come out of Biden’s Trucking Action Plan was a proposal to study the issue of unpaid "detention time." Paying for driver’s detention time, Long continued, would compel ports to be more efficient with loading, ensuring that trucks are in and out in as little time possible.
Watch the video of Spencer's statement below.