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463 481 449
Ratledge, Jerry, vice president, Iowa Beef Processors; accompanied
by Connie Bodine, vice president of public relations..
tion; accompanied by Allan I. Mendelsohn, counsel, Glassie, Pewett,
Beebe & Shanks, Washington, D.C--Simon, Norman, Aberdeen, S. Dak--
Strope, Paul, West Branch, Iowa--Additional material supplied for the hearing record
Anderson, Andy, president, Midwest Independent Truckers Associa
tion : Operating figures within trucking industry--Becker, Joseph A., owner, Hi-Way Frate, Albert Lea, Minn.: Prepared
statement Bell, Earl, president, Earl L. Bell, Inc., Granada Hills, Calif. : Forms
which must be filed by owner/operators.--
Inc.: Prepared statement and attachment.-
lems, present challenges to produce industry-
tion: Prepared statement-
Prepared statement and attachment------
Committee : Prepared statement and attachments---
Prepared statement and exhibits.---
statement and attachments.--
of the Colorado Meat Dealers Association: Prepared statement and
publisher, Overdrive Magazine, Los Angeles, Calif. : Material sub
mitted for the hearing record..
mittee-Minority Trucking-Transportation Development Corp., and
Documents referred to in testimony--
tion; accompanied by Allan I. Mendelsohn, counsel, Glassie, Pewett,
Transport Topics Magazine: Advertisement dated June 14, 1976_-
332 483 319 527
REGULATORY PROBLEMS OF THE INDEPENDENT OWNER-OPERATOR IN THE NATION'S TRUCKING INDUSTRY (PART 1)
WEDNESDAY, MAY 19, 1976
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN HUNGATE
Mr. HUNGATE. The subcommittee will come to order.
This morning the Subcommittee on Activities of Regulatory Agencies opens hearings on the regulatory problems confronting the independent owner-operator in the Nation's trucking industry.
The subcommittee will meet today, tomorrow, and May 26 here in Washington on this subject. Testimony will be heard from several organizations representing independent truckers.
Views presented will not always represent the same position on the major question of regulatory reform. We will hear urgings for some reform as well as for total deregulation.
Before discussing some problems of the owner-operator, I will announce that when our 3 days in Washington are over the subcommittee will move to the field. On June 5 we will plan to hold hearings in Sioux City, Iowa; on July 24 in Trenton, N.J. A possibility exists that west coast hearings may be planned for the early fall.
The independent owner-operator, or independent trucker, is caught between the whims of Big Business and the persistence of growing Government regulation, a substantial part of which is bestowed upon him by the Federal bureaucracy.
The independent's earnings in the last few years has basically remained the same; in many cases has even dropped off. Why? Tolls, fuel, road taxes, license tags, parts, maintenance, insurance, all have increased considerably in cost.
The prospects for a loan have decreased. Finances, while a major problem, are only the tip of the iceberg-Federal regulation, State regulation, rates, deadheading—the list of areas for concern seems endless.
These three hearings here in Washington have been arranged by staff to serve two purposes.
First we shall hear from independents representing all aspects of the trucking industry, geographically and philosophically.
Second, testimony has been selected which should address all the regulatory problems the independent encounters. The members of the subcommittee may be surprised and perhaps shocked by the testimony we will be receiving in the next 3 days.
Before our first witness, Mr. William Hill, comes forward, I will note that we have asked that no name of either a trucker or a trucking company be mentioned in public testimony which might tend to defame or degrade that individual or company. Any substantiated complaints including third parties may be submitted for subcommittee consideration at the proper time.
Mr. Hightower, do you have any comments?
Mr. HIGHTOWER. Mr. Chairman, I think it would be good at this point in the record to read the letter that has been received by the subcommittee addressed to the chairman, dated May 19:
Dear Mr. Chairman: I wish to congratulate you and the members of the subcommittee on this first day of hearings on regulatory problems of independent truckers. You have granted a forum to a group of beleaguered small businessmen who have until now, Mr. Chairman, had no adequate opportunity to present their very special problems. Your concern for their predicament and your will. ingness to help is laudable.
The owner-operator and his regulatory problems deserve review. I thank you
This is not a small problem, and the list is not intended to be totally exhaustive. I am certain the subcommittee will want to hear something from the Interstate Commerce Commission before we conclude what work may be done here.
Mr. William J. Hill, would you come forward?
Mr. Hill is chairman of the National Independent Truckers Unity Committee, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Would you raise your hand and be sworn please? [Mr. Hill was sworn in.]
TESTIMONY OF WILLIAM J. HILL, CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL INDE
PENDENT TRUCKERS UNITY COMMITTEE, PITTSBURGH, PA.
Mr. HUNGATE. Please be seated. State your name and address for the subcommittee please.
Mr. HILL. My name is Bill Hill of 821 East Street, Pittsburgh, Pa. Mr. HUNGATE. There are a number of people that want to be heard. We want to hear from as many as possible. In order to do that we have to observe certain time constraints.
Each witness or combination of witnesses have been asked to hold themselves within 20 minutes for their opening statements and then we will proceed with subcommittee questioning.
You have a prepared statement!
Mr. HUNGATE. And without objection it will be made a part of the record. You may now proceed as you see fit.
Mr. Hill. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I am chairman of the Fraternal Association of Steel Haulers, which might be described as a trade association of independent truckersmen who own their own rigs and haul principally in the steel industry; and also president of the Fraternal Association of Special Haulers, which is constituted as a trade union and seeks to represent its members in their relationship with carriers to whom they contract their trucks and services.
I was an owner-operator and hauled steel and other commodities from 1958 until 1968 when then I became a full-time employee of FASH.
As an outgrowth of this activity, I am chairman of the National Independent Truckers Unity Council, heretofore known as the National Independent Truckers Unity Committee. In accordance with its long-range plans, NITUC recently adopted the word "council” in its name as being more descriptive of its goals and program.
NITUC is, in fact, a council of independent truckers associations, and thus is the forum in which most owner-operators' associations from many parts of the country meet quarterly to deliberate, to debate issues, and to chart programs which we hope will remedy the accute problems confronting independent truckers and thus save this hardworking, constructive, and valuable segment of the transportation industry from extinction. We estimate that at least 50 percent of the products produced in this Nation are transported by independent truckers.
The associations in NITUC are the ones which urged upon you the holding of these hearings, and we hope today to present briefly, but in compelling language, the complex problems confronting us and outline some of the solutions which we think are imperative for the survival of free enterprise in this industry.
It is my purpose to outline briefly the general situation confronting us. Others, representing some of the strongest associations in the Unity Council, will follow with more detailed discussions of particular practices and regulations which threaten the extinction of the independent truckers.
I will have to say in passing that the descriptive phrase "independent truckers” represent a hope more than a reality, and I am tempted at this time to say that the term "independent truckers" should not be applied to our people, because in reality at this time the majority are not.
In fact, they find themselves today in a virtual no man's land without a real stake in this Nation's transportation system. They are in a position where they have no control over their destiny.
If they try to bargain collectively to better their position with the trucking companies, that hold interstate commerce authority, who the independent truckers must lease their rigs to, they find themselves threatened with antitrust litigation, both criminal and civil, because in most cases they are considered to be independent contractors by both the industry itself and the Federal regulatory agencies.
But, if they try to work as truly independent contractors and haul directly for the shippers, they are adjudged to be in violation of the Interstate Commerce Act.
They are, in fact, slaves to a firmly established system which offers special protection to many of its elements, such as its trucking firms, but which gives them absolutely no power to gain an equitable position in that system.
Many of the owner-operators—that is, independent truckers—I believe that the Government could and should protect them from the many injustices and unfair practices which will be described to you today.
However, it is my opinion that if they had the right to bargain collectively, our people could negotiate with the carriers effectively regarding their conditions of work and pay, and thereby have a hand in the direction of their destiny.
I believe it is important for the Congress to know that if we were given the right to bargain we would not have to go to the Government to correct most of our problems. We could do this on our own, collectively, like other American workers do.
All of this leads me to what I consider to be the most important point for owner-operators which I have to make at this hearing.
In the opinion of many of us who came up as drivers in the trucking industry, the National Labor Relations Board-though conceived for lofty and worthy purposes—is in reality a tool of big business and big labor unions to be used against the rank-and-file workers in this Nation, especially workers who do not fall into stereotype categories.
I base my opinion of the National Labor Relations Board on the experiences FAŜH has had with the Board and its various bureaucrats.
It is safe to say that of all the vacillations of Federal agencies with respect to the identity and status of independent truckers, the on-again, off-again policy of the NLRB over the years has been most flagrant of all.
Most of us feel that the inconsistent NLRB decisions have been caused by political influence exercised by the various national administrations; more particularly the influence generated by the NixonTeamster alliance put together a number of years ago.
As a result of such political alliances, this Nation's steel haulers and other owner-operators have been denied the procedures of the NLRB under which they otherwise would have had the right of electing their representatives and bargaining for their own working conditions.
Only the other day I received word from the NLRB denying the Fraternal Association of Special Haulers, a union agency, even a hearing regarding 14 petitions we filed on behalf of many hundreds of the steel haulers who want the right to vote on who they want to represent them in collective bargaining.
In any event, the latest NLRB denial of the right of the steel haulers to shape their own destiny has effectively frustrated the will of thousands of steel haulers by denying them the opportunity to democratically elect their own bargaining agent and to vote on their own contracts.
Did the NLRB discuss the legal and philosophical background of its latest denial of the just and fair hopes of the steel haulers ? Not at all. Its ruling was curt and, I would say, insulting, in that it gave no inkling of NLRB's reasoning or the basis for its decision.
The Board simply said: “Having duly considered the petitioners' request for review of the regional director's dismissal of the instant petitions, the Board concluded that insufficient grounds have been alleged to warrant reversal of the regional director."