Drivers

Latest Aviation Bill Ditches Pro-Trucking Reform

March 11, 2016

By David Cullen

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U.S. Capitol Photo: David Cullen
U.S. Capitol Photo: David Cullen

The effort to inject a reform proposal widely viewed as favorable to trucking into an aviation bill has crashed and burned. At least for now.

House leaders introduced a short-term aviation bill on March 10. The Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2016 (H.R. 4721) would extend authorization for Federal Aviation Administration programs through July 15.

If an extension isn’t passed by both chambers of Congress, authority for FAA programs will expire at the end of this month.

Separately, just the day before on March 9, the Senate Commerce Committee introduced long-term legislation that would reauthorize FAA programs through Sept. 30, 2017. The committee is slated to vote March 16 on forwarding its bill to the full Senate.

While the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in February approved legislation that would fund FAA until 2022, that bill is meeting resistance from many House Democrats and aviation stakeholders over a provision that would detach the nation’s air traffic control system from the aviation agency.

Hence, House leaders saw the need to put forth the short-term patch.

The long-term House bill, the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act (H.R.444)contains a trucking reform proposal aimed at preventing states from enacting their own meal and rest break rules for CDL drivers. It would also prohibit states from requiring that those drivers be paid certain types of added compensation, such as detention pay. 

However, neither the Senate committee’s proposal for a long-term aviation bill nor the House short-term measure contains the pro-trucking reforms. 

The trucking reforms sought are stated as such in Section 611 of the House AIRR ACT:

  • “A State… may not enact or enforce a law, regulation, or other provision…prohibiting employees whose hours of service are subject to [federal] regulation…
  • “A State… may not enact or enforce a law, regulation, or other provision…that requires a motor carrier that compensates employees on a piece-rate basis to pay those employees separate or additional compensation, provided that the motor carrier pays the employee a total sum that when divided by the total number of hours worked during the corresponding work period is equal to or greater than the applicable hourly minimum wage of the State…” 

The wording is identical to that of an amendment proposed for inclusion in the last highway bill by Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA). That language did not survive the conferencing process that finalized the FAST Act late last year. 

The language landed anew in the AIRR bill because its supporters in the trucking, railroad, intermodal, logistics, manufacturing and retailing industries are committed to keep fighting for it. It’s also considered germane to the bill because a “preemption provision” to address the issue of states attempting to override federal regulation of interstate commerce had been included in the FAA Authorization Act (FAAAA) of 1994.

It appears unlikely the pro-trucking reforms will get worked into the short-term House FAA bill and even more unlikely the language will be written into any short-term aviation patch that comes out of the Senate.

That means the trucking groups that favor the reforms (including the American Trucking Associations, the 50 ATA-affiliated state trucking associations, the National Private Truck Council and the Truckload Carriers Association) as well as the rail, intermodal and shipper groups that support the changes will have to keep lobbying to keep the language in the long-term House bill.

As for landing the reforms in the multi-year bill FAA that eventually will emerge from the Senate, that promises to be no milk run.

Related:  Aviation Bill Harbors Pro-Trucking Reform 

Comments

  1. 1. DJLaffan [ March 12, 2016 @ 09:13AM ]

    Let's be clear, these so called reforms are not in anyway, shape or form a benefit to drivers, the actual working man. These are reforms to keep the archaic piece rate of pay in place. It's time drivers are put on the clock and are paid like every other working person in this country.

  2. 2. Pat Hockaday (JoJo) [ March 12, 2016 @ 08:19PM ]

    There is nothing Pro Truck Driver in this Denham Method. This is an attempt to further devalue ALL Drivers for corporate profit.
    The 1994 Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act specifies for federal preemption of any state law relative to trucking operations. 
    From the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations;
    “a State, political subdivision of a State, or political authority of 2 or more States may not enact or enforce a law, regulation, or other provision having the force and effect of law related to a price, route, or service of any motor carrier … or any motor private carrier, broker, or freight forwarder with respect to the transportation of property.”
    The Ninth Circuit held that “generally applicable background regulations that are several steps removed from prices, routes, or services, such as prevailing wage laws, are not preempted, even if employers must factor those provisions into their decisions about the prices that they set, the routes that they use, or the services that they provide.”.
    The 9th District Court found persuasive the brief filed by attorneys from the Department of Transportation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and the Department of Justice, which stated that the FAAAA did not preempt state break requirements because it is “squarely within the states’ traditional power to regulate the employment relationship and to protect worker health and safety.”
    In an interview with Landline Now, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, the ranking member on the Highways and Transit Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, stated that the 9th Circuit Court decided that meal and rest breaks can be regulated for trucks that drive intrastate and do not leave the state and that this is not even a matter of intrastate commerce.
    TruckersUnited.org The ATA, TCA and Alliance for the Security and Safety of Drivers Do Not Represent "We the Drivers"!!

  3. 3. Pat Hockaday (JoJo) [ March 12, 2016 @ 08:32PM ]

    Correction to previous post.
    In an interview with Landline Now, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, the ranking member on the Highways and Transit Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, stated that the 9th Circuit Court decided that meal and rest breaks can be regulated for trucks that drive intrastate and do not leave the state and that this is not even a matter of INTERSTATE commerce.

  4. 4. T Sandy Reece [ March 24, 2016 @ 04:38AM ]

    All of this don't really matter the real issue they need to be working on is the 10 hour break
    This rule forces us to drive tried because if we stop to take a shot nap that time goes against our 14 so we have to keep driving or we run out of time and can't make our appointment
    If they would give us our time in the bunk and it not go against our 14 that would allow a driver if he or she gets tried or sleepy we could stop for a couple of hours rest and still make our appointment and be a lot safer on the highway
    When we spend 5or 6 hours at a dock loading or unloading we are in the bunk that time should not count against our 14 hours
    God bless Sandy Reece

 

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