Friday, December 23, 2011


A Message from Jim Hoffa, General President

General Secretary-Treasurer Tom Keegel and I would like to wish a happy holiday season to our Teamster brothers and sisters throughout North America.

During these difficult economic times, Teamsters continued to work hard, negotiate great contracts and organize thousands of new Teamsters. I’m confident 2012 has great things in store for us, but it’s not going to be an easy year. There are still plenty of lawmakers at the state and national level that want to eliminate unions—some of them are even running for president.

This year started with a bang. As a new wave of conservative lawmakers took office, they wasted no time attempting to gut the hard-earned benefits and rights of union members.

At every turn, Teamsters stood strong. We stood up to Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Ohio’s Senate Bill 5, we stood up for Occupy Wall Street and we kept pressure on Congress to curb the excesses of Wall Street.

In 2012, we may have to work even harder.

I know the Teamsters Union and you, our members, are ready for the fight. We are proud to stand with you as we fight for fair wages, solid benefits, a safe work environment, a secure retirement and social justice. At this time of year, when many of us spend the holidays with loved ones, we realize just how important our struggle is.

On behalf of the General Executive Board, we wish Teamsters, their families and workers everywhere a warm holiday season and a 2012 filled with health, success and justice.

In solidarity,

Jim Hoffa, General President

New Rule Bans Use Of Hand-Held Mobile Phones While Driving

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a final rule that essentially bans the use of hand-held mobile telephones while operating a commercial motor vehicle beginning December 23.

Read the fact sheet here.


Official Statement From General President James Hoffa

The following is the official statement from Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa about the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s final hours of service rule for commercial motor vehicle drivers:

“We said all along that an hours of service rule has to protect highway safety and our truck drivers’ health. We are reviewing the new rule, and in the coming weeks we will meet and discuss it with our allies and, if necessary, determine our next course of action.”

Thursday, December 22, 2011

U.S. Department of Transportation Takes Action to Ensure Truck Driver Rest Time and Improve Safety Behind the Wheel

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced a final rule that employs the latest research in driver fatigue to make sure truck drivers can get the rest they need to operate safely when on the road. The new rule by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) revises the hours-of-service (HOS) safety requirements for commercial truck drivers.

"Trucking is a difficult job, and a big rig can be deadly when a driver is tired and overworked," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "This final rule will help prevent fatigue-related truck crashes and save lives. Truck drivers deserve a work environment that allows them to perform their jobs safely."

As part of the HOS rulemaking process, FMCSA held six public listening sessions across the country and encouraged safety advocates, drivers, truck company owners, law enforcement and the public to share their input on HOS requirements. The listening sessions were live webcast on the FMCSA Web site, allowing a broad cross-section of individuals to participate in the development of this safety-critical rule.

"This final rule is the culmination of the most extensive and transparent public outreach effort in our agency's history," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "With robust input from all areas of the trucking community, coupled with the latest scientific research, we carefully crafted a rule acknowledging that when truckers are rested, alert and focused on safety, it makes our roadways safer."

FMCSA's new HOS final rule reduces by 12 hours the maximum number of hours a truck driver can work within a week. Under the old rule, truck drivers could work on average up to 82 hours within a seven-day period. The new HOS final rule limits a driver's work week to 70 hours.

In addition, truck drivers cannot drive after working eight hours without first taking a break of at least 30 minutes. Drivers can take the 30-minute break whenever they need rest during the eight-hour window.

The final rule retains the current 11-hour daily driving limit. FMCSA will continue to conduct data analysis and research to further examine any risks associated with the 11 hours of driving time.

The rule requires truck drivers who maximize their weekly work hours to take at least two nights' rest when their 24-hour body clock demands sleep the most - from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. This rest requirement is part of the rule's "34-hour restart" provision that allows drivers to restart the clock on their work week by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty. The final rule allows drivers to use the restart provision only once during a seven-day period.

Companies and drivers that commit egregious violations of the rule could face the maximum penalties for each offense. Trucking companies that allow drivers to exceed the 11-hour driving limit by 3 or more hours could be fined $11,000 per offense, and the drivers themselves could face civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense.

Commercial truck drivers and companies must comply with the HOS final rule by July 1, 2013. The rule is being sent to the Federal Register today and is currently available on FMCSA's Web site at

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

U.S. trucking recovery slows to a crawl in November, index shows

U.S. freight levels continued to climb in November but at an ever-slowing pace, according to the latest data from the American Trucking Associations
The trade group’s truck tonnage index increased 0.3 percentage points last month after increasing a revised 0.4 percentage points in October. ATA’s advance, seasonally adjusted index of for-hire truck tonnage initially showed a 0.5 percentage point increase for that month.

The index now stands at 116.6, up from 116.3 in October. The year 2000 equals 100 on the index.

Despite the slow growth, the index was up 6 percentage points from November 2010, the highest year-to-year increase since June, when volumes were 6.5 percentage points higher than a year prior. For the year so far, tonnage is 5.4 percentage points ahead of the same point in 2010.  Full Story.....