As reported by Steven Overly for Politico
Long-term fixes will require major changes to how supply chains are operated and regulated, labor and industry officials say. Now that attention is shifting away from an imminent holiday crisis, they are leaning on Biden to address long-standing issues related to workers’ rights, market competition and insufficient logistics technology.
“We will not have solved this problem when there are no boats sitting idle off the coast of our country and when we’re not overloaded with containers in yards and in warehouses,” said Greg Regan, president of the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department. “The problem is only going to be solved if we deal with the structural issues here, and I have faith that this administration is going to do that.”
Biden has relaxed some trucking regulations and sought to streamline the certification process to get drivers onto the road more quickly.
But Regan at the AFL-CIO said the changes proposed so far do not address the core problem: Workers are underpaid and endure difficult work conditions. Those factors are fueling the industry’s 90 percent turnover rate, he said, and the industry will continue to hemorrhage workers unless they are addressed.
Regan has urged Congress to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (S. 420 (117), which would require truck drivers to be classified as employees rather than contractors. That would give drivers collective bargaining rights and ultimately enhance their pay and benefits, he said.
“These are all privately operated systems, so it’s not like the government can just sort of snap their fingers and change how things operate. But they are bringing labor concerns into the forefront,” he said.
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