Teamsters “Bizarre” response to FMCSA on Mexican truck issue


Mexican trucks such as these two are the targeted obsession of Teamsters, OOIDA and their allies whose lawsuit against allowing them legally required access has now been consolidated by the DC Court of Appeals

Today, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters responded to the FMCSA’s response to the Teamster’s frivolous lawsuit with a totally bizarre brief, full of spin and out and out lies. Nothing we haven’t come to expect from the opponents of Mexican trucks and of America fulfilling the promises we made to our southern neighbor.

The irrelevant little man who is President of Teamsters stated;

“The FMCSA makes the bizarre argument that our members aren’t harmed by a program that opens the border to low-paid truck drivers and dangerous, dirty trucks. Try telling that to our members.

U.S. commercial truck drivers must follow all U.S. safety regulations while Mexican drivers only need to follow selected Mexican regulations. The government is flat-out wrong to say Mexican trucks and drivers meet equivalent standards.”

So Hoffa begins his latest tirade with two well worn out lies, which have been totally debunked, proven false time and time again. Mexican trucks and their drivers MUST follow the same rules and regulations as US and Canadian drivers when operating in this country.

Dissecting the TEAMSTERS brief

The brief filed yesterday by the Teamsters doesn’t present any new arguments, instead reveals how the opponents of Mexican truck access are reduced to “grasping at straws” in their continuing failure to stop this legal obligation this country has under the rules of NAFTA.

In response to FMCSA’s claim that Teamsters and OOIDA do not have “standing” to file these actions in Federal Court, since they cannot prove “harm” to plaintiffs, TEAMSTERS have of course come up with TWO PEOPLE who have been IRREPARABLY HARMED, by the presence of an additional 3 Mexican drivers and 2 Mexican trucks in the US. The brief states;

Petitioners declarations establish that the safety of drivers and trucks disproportionatelyaffects IBT members, particularly members, such as declarants Deane Allen and Jack Cawood ,who drive in the west, southwest, and south – where much pilot-program activity will occur.

IBT members are not just any citizens, but those most likely to beharmed by highway safety problems

Opening Br. 19. Finally, FMCSA concedes that two IBT members have submitted declarations that “suggest injury or risk of injury” from pollution.

An IBT member whose asthma is aggravated by diesel exhaust from trucks regularly travels on a highway with significant trucking traffic from the border zone. Cawood Dec., ¶¶3, 8. He – and the many other IBT members who drive trucks in the west, southwest, and south (Kimball Dec., ¶7) – will be particularly harmed by the pollution the pilot program causes. That is enough to satisfy the requirement that NEPA petitioners show that they are “uniquely susceptible to injury.”

Petitioners have submitted detailed declarations from IBTmembers who live and drive in the area the pilot program will most affect and who are subject to the safety and environmental effects FMCSA has ignoredSo Mr. Caewood, a TEAMSTER, who has asthma, and who drives a diesel truck, would be “harmed” by the addition of a few more Mexican trucks on the nations highways?  We don’t think so!

The Teamsters brief erroneously claims the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration breaks the following laws:

  • It waives a law that trucks must display certain proof that they meet federal safety standards.
They are of course referring to the requirement to display a decal certifying compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (“FMVSSs”). 49 U.S.C. §§30112(a), 30115(a). Considering these are the same types and brands of trucks US companies operate, and considering the fact that most of these trucks utilized by the Mexican carriers are purchased in the US, this argument is moot.
  • It breaks the law requiring the pilot program to achieve an equivalent level of safety because Mexican drivers don’t have to meet the same physical requirements as U.S. drivers.
This is perhaps the biggest stretch. Mexican medical standards require a driver to recognize only the color “RED” while US medical requirements require recognition of “RED, YELLOW and GREEN”, the colors present in STOP LIGHTS. However, Stoplights are the same in Mexico and the US and Canada. Furthermore, Mexico’s medical standards are much tougher than the US standards inasmuch as they include a disqualifiers such as a BMI in excess of 35 as an example. Again, the opposition is merely grasping at straws.
  • It breaks the law that Mexico must provide simultaneous and comparable access to U.S. trucks. Mexico cannot do so because of the limited availability of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel in Mexico.
Teamsters are using this weak argument despite evidence to the contrary and they are assuming that US trucks would be in country to the point they would need to purchase Mexican fuel. ultra Low Sulphur Diesel is indeed widely available in the major metropolitan areas and the border region should US carriers need to purchase fuel in Mexico. However, with trucks averaging 6.5 miles per gallon and fuel capacity of 300 gallons, the need to purchase would not be there. Furthermore, nothing in NAFTA specifies this type of fuel be available and the FMCSA has no authority to demand it as a condition of participation in the program.
  • It breaks the law that the pilot program must include enough participants to be statistically valid. The FMCSA’s proposal ensures that only the best Mexican trucks participate, which would allow it to justify letting any Mexican truck over the border in the future.
The lies, delaying tactics, corrupt politicians in the pocket of the Teamsters and OOIDA, up to this point, have assured that there will not be enough participants to provide a “statistically valid sample”, however, with the program being in it’s first six months and FMCSA taking extra care in approving participants, this will most likely change when the Mexican carriers can see the potential for a return on their investment.  This is really an invalid argument until such a time as all interested carriers pass their PASA and are admitted to the program.
  • It doesn’t comply with the environment requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act.

Perhaps the weakest of their arguments and the most disingenuous, is this argument. The Supreme Court ruled in 2004 that FMCSA does not have reason to conduct these reviews, although they were later done as required by FMCSA. Simply because the results do not satisfy the opposition, does not mean that FMCSA is not in compliance with something they are not required to comply with.

It’s the same old shit, different day, that will eventually be tossed by the Appeals Court.

However, should they somehow prevail, then expect the LEGAL TARIFFS to come roaring back with a vengeance. We don’t think that will happen though seeing the lack of interest in this issue by Congress and the toady politicians in the pocket of the TEAMSTERS and OOIDA.

Oral arguments on this are tentatively scheduled for April 2012 and a decision could be coming in summer

 

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About PMC

35 years in the trucking business and living in Mexico for the past 15 years, make me uniquely qualified to offer my insight and opinion into the Mexican trucking industry and other border issues. A contributor to SiriuxXM Road Dog Channel 106 and to the award winning Lockridge Report, Mexico Trucker Online continues to publish the unvarnished truth about the subjects we cover.