Friday, August 01, 2008

Teamsters Praise House Bill Banning Unsafe Mexican Trucks

Hoffa Lauds Passage of DeFazio Bill In House Transportation Committee

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa commended the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today for approving a bill to stop the Bush administration's reckless pilot program allowing unsafe trucks from Mexico to travel freely throughout the United States.

"It's outrageous that this program has been allowed to continue despite the fact that it's endangering American lives," said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. "How many people must die on our highways before the Bush administration wakes up?"

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., bans the pilot program by Sept. 6. It also prohibits the transportation secretary from granting authority to any Mexican trucks beyond the commercial zone, unless specifically authorized by Congress. The bill passed unanimously by a voice vote.

"I commend Rep. DeFazio and the members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for taking a stand today to protect the lives of American drivers and their families," Hoffa said.

A federal law took effect on Dec. 26 that bans funding for the Bush administration's pilot program. But in brazen defiance of that and other laws, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) claimed it did not understand the intent of the law. FMCSA refused to shut down the pilot project that had begun shortly after Labor Day last year.

"This bill makes it as clear as day that Congress wants the border closed to dangerous trucks," Hoffa said.

The Transportation Department's inspector general reported earlier this year that FMCSA was unsure if it was inspecting all trucks from Mexico at the border.

FMCSA opened the border to a Mexican trucking company with a long history of hazardous safety violations, Trinity Industries de Mexico. Trinity's 16 trucks averaged 112 violations each -- according to FMCSA's own database -- in the year before it was admitted to the pilot program.

Mexican trucks and truck drivers are not held to the same high safety standards as their U.S. counterparts.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

China cost 2.3 mill US jobs

The U.S. trade deficit with China cost 2.3 million American jobs between 2001 and 2007, the Economic Policy Institute said on Wednesday in a report likely to fuel debate about free trade ahead of November elections.

Even when they found new jobs, workers displaced by job loss to China saw their earnings decrease by an average of $8,146 each year because the new jobs paid less, according to the report, funded in part by labor unions.

"This report is groundbreaking because it shows the extent of damage caused by Chinese cheating," said Scott Paul, executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, which helped fund research for the report by EPI, a left-leaning Washington think tank.

"(We hope) it will help to focus the debate on trade to where it needs to be right now with respect to China," Paul said, noting that free trade is shaping up as a major issue in the November presidential election, especially in closely fought battleground states like Ohio.

U.S. manufacturers, labor unions and many lawmakers have long accused China of manipulating its currency to give Chinese companies an unfair advantage in international trade, and are pressing China to continue to allow the yuan to rise against the U.S. dollar to help level the playing field.

China has said the United States should recognize how much its yuan currency has already risen against the U.S. dollar -- it is about 20 percent higher since China revalued its currency in July 2005.

China has also said the fact that Americans save much less of their incomes than do the Chinese has fueled the trade deficit. Chinese-made goods have been snapped up in recent years by U.S. consumers looking for low prices.


The EPI report showed more than two-thirds of the jobs displaced by China trade deficits were in manufacturing and more than half came from the top half of the U.S. wage distribution. U.S. factory jobs typically pay well and include health insurance coverage and retirement benefits.

The manufacturing sectors hit hardest by the trade deficit with China included computers and electronics, apparel and fabricated metal products. Service sectors like administrative support services and professional, scientific and technical services also saw large job displacement because of the China trade deficit, EPI said.

Contrary to popular belief, jobs lost to China were not necessarily low-skilled, the report showed. Thirty-one percent of the jobs lost were among workers with college degrees.

"A dramatic example is the loss of 200,000 scientists and engineers within the manufacturing sector, a 10.7 percent drop," the nonpartisan AAM said in a statement. AAM represents some U.S. manufacturers and the United Steelworkers of America.

The issue of free trade has dominated campaign debate in parts of the United States, including industrial Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania -- all of which are politically divided and will be closely contested by the presidential contenders.

Democratic candidate Barack Obama has promoted a message of more trade restrictions -- of "fair trade not free trade" -- while Republican John McCain has embraced free trade as a way for America to win new markets and stay competitive.

Terry Straub, Vice President of Public Affairs and Government for U.S. Steel Corp., said American manufacturing could only compete if Chinese "cheating" were stopped. He said pressure will be on politicians during the campaign to protect U.S. workers.

"Until we address distortions of the free market, such as dumping, subsidies and illegal currency manipulation, we'll continue to see a hollowing out of our high-tech productive capacity, as well as the very good jobs that go with it," Straub said. "As the candidates campaign this fall, we expect to see these very real issues discussed."

Record UPS Contingent Drives Way to National Championships

A record 33 UPS and UPS Freight state champions will test their skills against the nation’s top professional drivers in next month’s American Trucking Associations’ National Truck Driving Championships.

This year’s UPS team, a mix of veterans and newcomers to the national stage, have collectively accumulated 110 state titles and logged more than 500 years of accident-free driving. The event takes place Aug. 18-23 in Houston.

“Our nine first-time state champions are further evidence that the safety practices and skills that have been a hallmark of our drivers for many years are being passed on to the next generation of UPS and UPS Freight drivers,” said Phil Warren, UPS Freight vice president for community affairs. “For UPS and all competitors, the Nationals represent a showcase of our industry’s top professional drivers.”

The UPS team includes two former national champions, West Virginians Clarence Jenkins and Roger Lanham. Jenkins, a UPS Freight driver from Charleston, garnered the first of his West Virginia record 13 state championships in 1983 and won his national title in 1988. Lanham, who captured his 10th state title this summer, won his national championship in 1985.

Another West Virginian making his 10th return to the nationals is Ralph Gragg, a pickup and delivery driver for UPS Freight in Charleston.

This year’s company team also includes Barry Holland from Federalsburg, Md., who was named 2008 Maryland Grand Champion after recording the top score of all competitors in the state driving tournament.

The UPS Freight team also features Jerry Davis of Richmond, Va., who won his ninth state championship this year and first since 1999, and Dennis Kendrick of Richmond. Kendrick captured his eighth Virginia title in 2008 and second in a row in the five-axle competition.

Also returning for the second year in a row to the Nationals is UPS feeder driver John Foran, who this year successfully defended the Vermont four-axle championship he first won in 2007.

Other members of the 2008 team include eight UPS feeder drivers who won their first state titles this year to qualify for the national competition. They include David Edwards from Tennessee; David Sharp from Nevada; Minnesota’s Carl Myers; Troy Turtle and Bill Harvey from Oklahoma; Gareth Denham from Maryland; Ed Mikan from Illinois, and Shane Schneider from Kansas.

Rounding out the 2008 team are UPS Freight drivers Ty Bentley and Chuck Jones from North Carolina; Texas’ Bobby Brown; Scott Cain from Georgia; Anthony Chestnut from Florida; Joe Clements from Virginia, and South Carolinians John Cook, John Hummel, Dennis Martin and Steve Newsome.

Also, Danny Drewery from Tennessee; Alan Graham and Duane Lasure from Ohio; Johnny Hodges and Craig Warner from West Virginia; Vernon Smith and Robert White from Nevada, and Jerry Sheble from California.

Both the state and national competitions include difficult driving skills, maneuvering tests, equipment inspections and exams covering safety policies and regulations. More than 400 drivers from across the nation will compete in Houston in nine equipment classes.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Lt. Gov. Holds Town Hall Meeting On DHL

Political Leaders Working Hard To Keep DHL, Jobs In Ohio

The fight to keep thousands of jobs in Ohio continued on Saturday.

Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher held a town hall meeting in Wilmington on Saturday concerning a proposal that would eliminate about 8,000 jobs in the area. Wilmington is home to a DHL hub that could close if the owner follows through with a proposal to move its air freight, ground transport and overseas packaging operations to a UPS hub in Louisville, Ky.

Fisher and a team of Ohio political leaders spoke at Wilmington College on Saturday about DHL’s announcement.

Fisher said leaders from across the state are aggressively working to halt the potential DHL/UPS deal because its impact reaches beyond southwest Ohio.

The meeting follows a formal request from Fisher and Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland to the U.S. Department of Transportation to investigate the DHL plan for possible anti-trust violations.

The letter said the DHL plan would not only be bad for employees in Wilmington, but also for consumers across the country.

“Consolidation leaves consumers only two options for express delivery service and that is contrary to the public interest,” the letter states.

YRC Worldwide Send 69 Drivers to Truck Driving Championships

The operating companies of YRC Worldwide announced today that 69 of their professional drivers will compete at the 2008 National Truck Driving Championships to be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center August 19-23 in Houston, TX.

To qualify for the national championships, each driver placed first in his respective class at state competition. The drivers will compete against nearly 400 others for national titles in eight different classes of vehicles for the National Grand Champion title.

Both the state and national contests include challenging driving skills and maneuvering tests, pre-trip inspections, and a written examination covering vehicle operation and federal safety regulations. To participate in state competitions, drivers must be accident-free for one year.

"We congratulate all of our professional drivers for their dedication and commitment to safety," said Mike Smid, President and CEO of YRC North American Transportation. "Through their safety performance, each driver contributes to the well-being of their fellow motorists and represents the values of our family of companies. We are proud to have this team represent our brands, and wish them all the best at the national championships."

In 2007, Roadway professional driver Alphonso Lewis captured the title of National Grand Champion at the 70th Annual National Truck Driving Championships, which is sponsored by the American Trucking Association (ATA).

The 2008 YRC North American Transportation National Truck Driving Championship Team:

Yellow Transportation Drivers:
Roger Anderson 4-Axle Cincinnati, OH Chris Ballard Sleeper Indianapolis, IN Everett Bogert Twin Trailers Portland, OR Tim Brochue 4-Axle Coldwater, MI Shawn Campos Flatbed Maybrook, NY Don Conklin Tanker South Bend, IN Jerry Cudmore Tanker Watertown, SD Glade Evenson 4-Axle Sioux Falls, SD Eric Halchishak 3-Axle Coldwater, MI David Hall 4-Axle Little Rock, AR Mark Hassemer 5-Axle Green Bay, WI Rick Herbert 4-Axle Chicago Ridge, IL James Hurd Sleeper Billings, MT Kale Kapple Tanker Billings, MT Tom Kelly 4-Axle Maybrook, NY William Scott Krouse Flatbed St. Paul, MN Michael Madden Tanker Nashville, TN Paul Medders 3-Axle Daytona Beach, FL David Moore 4-Axle Shrewsbury, MA Ed Moore Twin Trailers Maybrook, NY Neil Nogues 4-Axle Manchester, NH Bruce Quaal Tanker St. Paul, MN Eugene Repp Twin Trailers Salisbury, DE Jerry Richman Twin Trailers Clarksburg, WV Jeramy Riggs Straight Truck Kansas City, MO Larry Tucker Straight Truck Louisville, KY Paul Unser Flatbed Boise, ID Wade Wagemann Twin Trailers Aberdeen, SD Robert Williams 4-Axle Colorado Springs, CO Larry Wilson 4-Axle Portland, OR

Roadway Drivers:
Bruce Amor 3-Axle South Bend, IN Regnald Ansbach Tanker Kansas City, KS Richard Beukelman Tanker Portland, OR Star Boodooram Straight Truck Kearny, NJ Nick Caiola Tanker Kearny, NJ Tony Dorries 3-Axle Ft. Worth, TX Laurier Dumont 5-Axle Concord, NH Kent Durant 5-Axle Wichita, KS Michael Erick 4-Axle Providence, RI Robbie Granstrom 3-Axle Oklahoma City, OK Whyman Hassel Tanker Milwaukee, WI Thomas Jones Flatbed Akron, OH Bill Keeling Twin Trailers Atlanta, GA Felipe Leyva Straight Truck Oakland, CA Jose Martinez 5-Axle Tacoma, WA Fernando Noel Straight Truck Worcester, MA Keith Powell 4-Axle Dover, DE William Stacy Sansom Twin Trailers Shreveport, LA Julian Scott Sleeper Chicago, IL Richard Seigle 5-Axle Chicago, IL Lynn Springer Flatbed Portland, OR Mitch Stegner Flatbed Columbia, MO Ron VanBibber Tanker Salt Lake City, UT George West Twin Trailers Chicago, IL Vic Wheeler 3-Axle Salt Lake City, UT Wayne Whitburn 5-Axle Birmingham, AL Patrick Wickman Twin Trailers Concord, NH Ben Wilds Straight Truck Portland, OR Bernard Zadrozny Straight Truck Cheshire, CT

YRC Regional Transportation Drivers:
Scott Beal Twin Trailers USF Reddaway-Boise, ID Wade Duerksen 3-Axle USF Reddaway-Denver, CO Herschel Evans 5-Axle USF Holland-Atlanta, GA Thomas Holman Straight Truck USF Reddaway-Denver, CO Michael Mygatt Twin Trailers USF Reddaway-Seattle, WA Jeffery Payne 5-Axle USF Reddaway-Salt Lake City, UT Russ Simpson 5-Axle USF Holland-Columbus, OH Douglas Stubbs 4-Axle USF Reddaway-Three Forks, MT Craig Tarsia Sleeper USF Reddaway-Clackamas, OR Robert Wolford Straight Truck USF Holland-Detroit, MI

Additional Awards Received:
Regnald Ansbach Roadway State Grand Champion Tony Dorries Roadway Best Pre-trip Award in 3-Axle Class Kent Durant Roadway Highest Written Test Score Eric Halchishak Yellow Transportation State Grand Champion Paul Medders Yellow Transportation State Grand Champion David Moore Yellow Transportation Bradford W. Rayworth Memorial Award for Professionalism Fernando Noel Roadway State Grand Champion Jeramy Riggs Yellow Transportation Rookie of the Year Russ Simpson USF Holland Rookie of the Year, Highest Off Course Score in Pretrip and Written Test Lynn Springer Roadway State Grand Champion Wade Wageman Yellow Transportation State Grand Champion, Highest Driving Points Vic Wheeler Roadway State Grand Champion (2nd year in a row) Patrick Wickman Roadway State Grand Champion Larry Wilson Yellow Transportation Rookie of the Year Robert Wolford USF Holland Rookie of the Year

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Truckers, firms shift to compete

It was not a job his dad could brag about to his friends. There wouldn’t be a white-picket fence or neighborhood barbecues. If he had children, he wouldn’t be there when they took their first steps.

But at 20 years old, Donald Cook didn’t care.

He wanted to be a truck driver. He wanted to live life truck-stop-to-truck-stop and put his eyes on all the country in between.

“It was up to me. I had control, said Mr. Cook, a driver for J.B. Hunt out of Jacksonville, Florida. “I was drawn to the coast-to-coast (drive), the traveling.”

Thirty years later, Mr. Cook, now 50, sat in a musty drivers’ lounge off Interstate 85 in Greenville, S.C., and spoke about lost miles. In the last six months, his familiar 2,800-mile to 3,100-mile cross-country routes have been shortened by more than 1,000 miles and his paycheck is less than what he earned 15 years ago.

“I have lost all the love I had for trucking,” he said. “I am sick of it. You are not seeing the U.S. like you used to.”

Trucking companies today, faced with record high fuel prices, a slowing economy and a shift in freight patterns and regulations, are scrambling to survive. Thousands of trucking companies have declared bankruptcy already this year and others are cutting hundreds of miles from drivers. Cross-continental truck drivers such as Mr. Cook are watching their numbers dwindle.

The economic storms rocking the trucking industry also are reshaping two of the nation’s biggest long-haul companies — Chattanooga -based U.S. Xpress and Covenant Transportation Group.

“You had the most perfect storm that could have ever been created. It has just been a compounding over and over and over again,” said Lana Batts, former president of the Truckload Carriers Association and managing partner with Transport Capitol Partners, a mergers and acquisitions company.


Nearly 1,000 trucking companies declared bankruptcy in the first quarter of 2008, and another 2,000 to 3,000 are expected to either go bankrupt or teeter on the edge of bankruptcy in this year’s second quarter, Ms. Batts said.

The industry has seen its way through many ups and downs, but few trucking executives have seen worse times, said Pat Quinn, co-chairman of U.S. Xpress. Complete Story.......