Citing major settlements in recent years, trucking lobbyists say they plan to capitalize on new Republican control in Congress to pass an amendment that would prevent enforcement of state laws dictating truck drivers’ time and pay and shield carriers from such court orders. So writes CCJ magazine in an informative article on the issue and how it could impact those with CDL driver jobs.
Major proponents of the Denham Amendment include the American Trucking Associations and the Western States Trucking Association.
Both stated legislation to assert federal authority over break and pay laws for truckers serves as a top-level agenda item in the coming years.
“This serves as our No. 1 priority,” says Western States’ head of government affairs Joe Rajkovacz. “Prohibiting states from involving themselves in the compensation methods in which drivers are paid. Once litigation of one of the cases succeeds, the ‘me-too’ lawsuits focus on much smaller motor carriers downstream. It becomes legal blackmail against a small business: ‘Pay us or get sued and taken into court.’”
Opponents of the provision argue that the Denham Amendment wipes out efforts to reform driver pay.
Donna Smith, co-producer of the online radio show and website Truth About Trucking, says the driver pay/break provision would slam the door on hopes for driver pay reform. State-level action on the issue of driver pay and breaks, even with creating an often-deemed “patchwork” of varying regulations, is better than no action at all.
“If there’s going to be any law for driver wages, ideally it would be at a national level,” she said. “I think it would be more confusing to have state-by-state laws. But, before you look down that road, you put to rest the Denham language. It puts to rest any of the recent efforts that the truck driving community puts forth to increase their wages.”
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