Three months ago, the DOT Office of Inspector General released it’s final report to Congress concerning the previously completed Pilot Program which tested the mettle of Mexico carriers to operate safely and in full compliance with our laws and regulations. Despite a low number of participants in the program, the program was successful and in January, FMCSA sent their required report to Congress indicating they were accepting applicants for permanent authority
Those that have been opposing Mexican trucks for 20 years and losing at every term were livid!
“I am outraged that the Department of Transportation has chosen to ignore the findings of the DOT inspector general and is moving forward with a plan to open the border to Mexican trucks in the coming months,” Hoffa said in a statement shortly after the FMCSA announced the program was open to applicants in January.
Hoffa has always been outraged or something when it comes to Mexican trucks. At least this time, he left out his mantra “unsafe Mexican trucks” because he knows that claim has been thoroughly debunked.
The Teamsters opposition has never been about truck safety or the lack of it, as claimed. Instead, unlike in Canada where they are allowed a franchise to organize and collect dues, it is illegal in Mexico and for the forseeable future, will remain so.
Hoffa said the cross-border program not only ignores statutory and regulatory requirements, but also flies in the face of common sense.
“One thing was made clear in the IG’s report – the pilot program was a failure,” Hoffa said. “Allowing untested Mexican trucks to travel our highways is a mistake of the highest order and it’s the driving public that will be put at risk by the DOT’s rash decision.”
Hoffa also continues showing his ignorance with statements such as these. Untested Mexican trucks? There are more than 10,000 Mexican trucks with USDOT numbers operating on our roadways and in the commercial zones, heavily and routinely inspected and returning lower out of service statistics than US or Mexican carriers and drivers.
And to this end, on March 10, 2015, the Teamsters went judge shopping and filed another frivolous and baseless lawsuit in an effort to stop the FMCSA from allowing Mexican trucks into the country, ignoring the fact they’ve been running here for more than 50 years, legally, responsibly and safely.
Like the rest of the lawsuits filed over the past 20 years by Teamsters, OOIDA and their bogus safety allies, this one has no chance of success and if less chance of having access to the Mexican carriers enjoined as they are asking. First action on this is scheduled for May 29, 2015 and the next a month later.
2015-70754 - International Brotherhood of Teamsters vs. USDOT 0.00 KB
Executive Vice President Todd Spencer came out with his usual verbal vomit, showing why his organization has lost much of their relevancy in the halls of Congress over this issue.
“The FMCSA is clearly doing an end-around and playing with numbers to try and justify opening the border to longhaul trucks from Mexico,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said.
“It’s clear from the lack of participation that Mexico-based motor carriers are not interested [in] hauling beyond the commercial zone, if it means complying with the same regulations that U.S. truckers do,” he said in a statement. Really Spencer? And you base this lunatic statement on what?
“FMCSA’s persistence to move this program forward is mind-boggling, especially when the agency tells us ad nauseam that their highest priority is safety. Yet this program is all about geopolitical economics,” Spencer said.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said his department had plenty of information under which to justify opening the U.S. border to Mexican trucks despite a report from the Inspector General that said there were too few participants in a pilot program to determine if all Mexican trucks were safe enough to run U.S. roads.
“There were also legacy carriers that provided us with data that was also used to supplement the data that we got from the pilot, and the combination of those two data sets gave us sufficient information to move forward,”
Truthfully, there has not been much opposition to the issue but one Congressman who can be counted on to object, fully in the pocket of OOIDA is Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), whose state was one of the hardest hit by the tariffs imposed in 2009 we he was one of the principal forces behind defunding Bush’s Pilot Program
Defazio has this to say when informed of the Obama administrations decision to finally bring the US into full compliance with our obligations towards Mexico
“Today, the Obama Administration notified me that as of Monday, the U.S. border will be open for Mexican-domiciled trucking companies to apply for long-haul operating authority. I am deeply disappointed. They are justifying this decision, using data collected from Mexican trucks that they allowed to operate long haul in the U.S. as enterprise carriers, avoiding the more arduous pilot program. These carriers were not subject to the more rigorous safety inspections, electronic monitoring of hours of service compliance, and other measures to which pilot program carriers were subject. A December IG report showed that we do not truly know whether or not Mexican carriers pose a safety risk to our roads. This Administration appears insistent on creating opportunities for Mexican carriers – which will have major impacts on safety, security, and American jobs.”
Again, this shows just how out of touch with reality Defazio is. His further statements prove that he is in the pocket of OOIDA lock, stock and barrel.
DeFazio raised several longstanding concerns with DOT:
“Cabotage” or hauling goods from one point to another within the United States
CDL requirements to guarantee Mexican truck drivers have valid commercial driver’s licenses and ensure that only safe and qualified drivers are permitted on American roads
Mexican hours of service requirements and compliance with American standards–currently, drivers can be on the road for days in Mexico prior to being subject to American hours of service requirements when they cross the border
Drug and alcohol testing standards that are comparable to American standards
Displaced American carriers–while Mexican trucks are eager to access American roads, American carriers do not want to expand into Mexico, meaning the loss of American jobs
Not longstanding concerns of his but verbatim from his handlers at OOIDA, through Laura O’Neill, former lobbyist for OOIDA now working for a Washington “boutique” lobbying firm of whom OOIDA is one of their principal clients. O’Neill and DeFazio have been seen together on numerous occasions at the Democrat Club and other venues around D.C.
Whatever your opinion, there is an on-going expansion of cross-border trucking outside of any “pilot” program. Families inter-marry along the border and many motor carriers actually based in Mexico have a national from both countries listed as owners – this allows them to operate unencumbered with operating authority throughout BOTH countries – and they are doing this in ever increasing numbers with trucks as new as any large U.S. fleet. One of the reasons for the newer fleets is that border carriers out here applied for and received millions of dollars in grant funding from California to comply with emissions regulations. All they have to do to get US operating authority is have an address on the US side of the border – often times an actual terminal/yard and the authority is issued just like it would be for any other applicant.
A few years ago, after an on-air interview with Mike McConnell (700WLW), we chatted off air with FMCSA administrator John Hill about the actual practices along the border and with a chuckle he told me “we’ve always known those practices but kept quiet in order to protect those carriers from the rhetoric of OOIDA and the Teamsters.” You’d actually be impressed with the management of many of these carriers – often second generation who have business degrees.
It’s all about politics though and politics will decide the issue. Not common sense. On the same days as Teamsters filed their frivolous and baseless lawsuit, the Wall Street Journal reported that the AFL-CIO and dozens associated major labor unions plan to freeze campaign contributions to members of Congress to pressure them to oppose fast-track trade legislation sought by President Obama.
One of those opposing this is of course, the Teamster pushing back against giving fast track authority to the President to negotiate the Trans Pacific Partnership.
In a letter to United States Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa demanded that he and the administration protect highway safety and reopen negotiations over Mexican cross-border trucking as part of the ongoing Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks. One has nothing to do with the other and besides, under what grounds would you open it? Because the Mexican’s won’t allow Hoffa to organize in their country?
Canacar has a $5 billion dollar claim against the United States for their failure to comply with these requirements. Why don’t we force Teamsters and OOIDA to pay the bill instead of the US taxpayer.
Mexican trucks are here and they’re here to stay! Get used to it people…
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.