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Unions, CCSP Mislead Public in Oakland Clean Truck Program Vote

July 20, 2009

ARLINGTON, Va., July 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Unions and Oakland Harbor Commission President Victor Uno are misleading the public in an attempt to pave the way for the Teamsters to take over Oakland’s waterfront drayage operations, which would send truck rates there soaring as much as 53 percent. Increasing drayage truck rates would increase consumers’ costs for all products flowing through the port and make Oakland less competitive, the American Trucking Associations said.

“The unions and Mr. Uno aim to destroy small independent businesses serving the Port of Oakland and replace them with larger trucking companies whose employees can be more easily organized by the Teamsters,” said ATA Vice President of Public Affairs Clayton Boyce. “Unions and their supporters are wrongly claiming that banning independent owner-operators from the Port of Oakland is necessary to clean the air. The recent experience in the Port of Los Angeles, where clean air efforts are far ahead of schedule even though the L.A. ban on owner-operators has been enjoined, has shown that claim to be false.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals and a U.S. District Court ruled earlier this year that banning owner-operators from ports likely violates federal law, rejecting the Port of Los Angeles’ claim that a ban was needed to help it achieve its environmental and safety goals. The Appeals Court belittled that position, noting that “[we] see little safety-related merit in those thread-paper arguments, which denigrate small businesses and insist that individuals should work for large employers or not at all.”

Unions are asking the Oakland Harbor Commission to vote tomorrow to ask Congress to amend federal transportation law that limits local regulation of interstate transportation and grant an exemption for port drayage hauls of less than 50 miles. In arguing for an exemption, the union organization called the Coalition for Clean & Safe Ports (CCSP) is also misleading the public about the nature of the ATA lawsuit against the Los Angeles and Long Beach Ports.

“The Coalition has falsely stated that ATA asked a federal court ‘to kill the clean air program’ in those ports,” said Curtis Whalen, Executive Director of ATA’s Intermodal Motor Carrier Conference. “The Coalition knows that is wrong and that ATA supports those Ports’ clean air programs and agree to the ports’ graduated ban on older diesel trucks. The fact that ATA secured an injunction against Los Angeles banning independent contractors and that the clean air aspects of the Los Angles Truck Program are moving ahead with great success belies such an outrageous claim.”

Finally, the CCSP is also ignoring the Port of Oakland’s own economic impact analysis in its flow of misleading propaganda. For example, CCSP has said that independent owner-operators (IOOs) cannot successfully run their own businesses and need unions’ help, but the port’s own economic impact analysis by the firm Beacon Economics says, “The majority of truckers serving the Port are independent owner-operators who do not wish to become employee drivers.

CCSP said that independent owner-operator drayage drivers are underpaid, but the port’s economic analysis says, IOO and employee driver earnings are comparable, and significantly higher than non-drayage truck driver earnings.

Most importantly, Beacon Economics said that if the CCSP is successful in outlawing independent businesses from port drayage, Costs of regulatory compliance combined with an employee driver requirement would raise drayage rates by up to 53 percent.

When CCSP and pro-union environmental groups tried the same misleading tactics in Los Angeles and Long Beach recently, newspapers there criticized their methods in strongly worded editorials. Now CCSP is repeating its campaign of vilification in Oakland, Boyce said.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “Despite the arguments of the proponents, there was never a compelling need to eliminate independent truckers, a move that would . . . do nothing to clean the air.” The Los Angeles Business Journal said that Mayor Villaraigosa met with Teamsters President James Hoffa to shape the port plan. The mayor and the Port attempted “contorting it into a payoff for union cronies,” the journal said.

The Los Angeles Daily News and the Press-Telegram newspaper in Long Beach, whose Port and mayor admirably refused to ban owner-operators, said a Teamsters-inspired campaign by environmental groups “tried to vilify” the mayor and Port and called opponents of an owner-operator ban “immoral.” ATA’s Boyce “has taken on L.A. politicians and port officials for deliberately misleading the press and the public about a Clean Trucks Program designed to cut diesel pollution. And he is absolutely right,” the Press-Telegram said.

Unfazed by the fact that clean air is not related to a driver’s employment status, the unions are asking the Oakland Harbor Commission to vote tomorrow to ask Congress to change the federal transportation law to effectively nullify the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision and the federal law that protects motor carriers, shippers and consumers from unnecessary and costly state and local regulations. The unions are willing to disrupt national transportation policy, undermine thousands of small businesses and place millions of dollars of unnecessary cost on freight transportation, just to allow them to better advance their organizing goals.

The American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of other trucking groups, industry-related conferences, and its 50 affiliated state trucking associations, ATA represents more than 37,000 members covering every type of motor carrier in the United States.

SOURCE American Trucking Associations


Source: newswire