Hoffa: Pilot Program Is An Attack on American Truckers and Warehouse Workers
The Teamsters on Wednesday sued to block the U.S. Department of Transportation from opening the U.S. border to dangerous Mexican trucks through an illegal pilot program.
"Opening the border to these dangerous, dirty trucks is an attack on highway safety, an attack on American truckers and warehouse workers, an attack on border security and an attack on our environment," said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. "It's outrageous enough that we've outsourced millions of jobs to foreign countries, but now we're bringing foreign workers across the border into the United States to take our jobs. This is another pressure the American middle class doesn't need."
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Public Citizen and the Sierra Club challenged the program in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
The suit claims the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration breaks the following laws:
It waives a law that trucks must display certain proof that they meet federal safety standards.
It breaks the law requiring the pilot program to achieve an equivalent level of safety because Mexican drivers don't have to meet the same physical requirements as U.S. drivers.
It breaks the law that Mexico must provide simultaneous and comparable access to U.S. trucks. Mexico cannot do so because of the limited availability of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel in Mexico.
It breaks the law that the pilot program must include enough participants to be statistically valid. The FMCSA's proposal ensures that only the best Mexican trucks participate, which would allow it to justify letting any Mexican truck over the border in the future.
It doesn't comply with the environment requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act.
"Congress has repeatedly and overwhelmingly set tough safety conditions for any cross-border trucking program, and this one clearly doesn't meet those conditions," Hoffa said.
The pilot program got off to a rocky start when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration approved trucking operator Grupo Behr from Tijuana, Mexico. The carrier owned one 20-year-old semi-tractor trailer with numerous safety issues. FMCSA had to disqualify it from the program after the Teamsters Union and others brought Grupo Behr's safety record to light. A second carrier, Transportes Olympic, of Monterrey, Mexico, started operating in the U.S. last month. Safety concerns have also been raised about Transportes Olympic.