WASHINGTON — A Michigan congressman has introduced legislation aimed at allowing truck drivers to receive overtime pay – something that is currently prohibited by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., announced the bill, dubbed the Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers Act, on Thursday.
The bill would repeal the motor carrier overtime exemption in the FLSA.
Levin said that the bill is designed so that truck drivers are fairly compensated for all of the hours they work.
“While fixing the discrepancy in existing law is long overdue in its own right to bring us one step closer to truly fair labor standards for truckers, my bill also highlights that we are at a crucial moment for the industry writ large,” Levin said in a news release.
“Truck drivers across the country face brutal working conditions marked by inadequate pay and long hours. Despite their tireless work, truck drivers do not receive overtime pay for overtime hours. As a result, the trucking industry faces an extremely high turnover rate as truckers cannot keep up with the thankless demands of their work. We all stand to benefit when truckers are paid what they’re owed.”
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), which supports the legislation, said the original design of the exemption passed in the 1930s was to prevent truckers from working too many hours. The reality, OOIDA says, is that the “outdated law” prevents truckers from receiving fair compensation.
“We know that for too long, too many people throughout the supply chain have placed little or no value on a driver’s time,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer said. “This is partly because of the FLSA overtime exemption.”
OOIDA said that requiring overtime for truckers will force shippers and receivers to move freight in an expedited fashion or compensate drivers for the time they are stuck at the facility.
“Shippers, receivers and carriers have never been forced to account for all the hours they keep drivers waiting since it costs them nothing to do so,” Spencer said. “By repealing the FLSA exemption, this bill would help make sure that drivers are compensated for all the hours they work. We thank Rep. Levin for finally standing up for truckers on this issue.”
The introduction of the legislation follows the U.S. Department of Transportation’s recent recommendation to eliminate the exemption to improve the supply chain.
The bill also is supported by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Institute for Safer Trucking, the Truck Safety Coalition, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, and Parents Against Tired Truckers.
OOIDA said the safety advocates recognize the connection between fair compensation and retaining safe and experienced drivers.
“Every second Congress allows the FLSA motor carrier exemption to exist, lives are recklessly and needlessly put at risk,” Truck Safety Coalition President Dawn King said. “I know firsthand the ultimate price that is paid by the failure to fairly compensate truck drivers for their time. We thank Rep. Levin for taking action to eliminate this lethal loophole. The GOT Truckers Act will undoubtedly save lives and substantially reduce truck crash deaths and injuries.”
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.