US Bills Aims to Prevent Port Trucker Abuse - Global Trade Magazine
  November 7th, 2017 | Written by

US Bills Aims to Prevent Port Trucker Abuse

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  • Lawmakers claim lease-to-own contracts force truck drivers to work long hours for little pay.
  • Proposed legislation sets baseline work standards for port truckers.
  • Report: Trucking companies in Southern California force independent drivers into lease-to-own programs.

Proposed legislation in the United States would require the federal government to investigate companies at ports taking advantage of their workers, according to a report in USA Today.

Lawmakers in the US House of Representatives claim that lease-to-own contracts force truck drivers to work long hours for little pay.

Two federal bills tackling such lease-to-own contracts were put forward last week.

The Port Drivers’ Bill of Rights Act of 2017 sets out baseline work standards for port truckers, including fair pay as well as defenses under labor laws and from “exploitative truck lease or rental arrangement.”

A separate bill, The Clean Ports Act of 2017 would let US cities and local governments regulate port trucking companies, something retailers and trade groups have lobbied against.

According to the USA Today report, trucking companies at Southern California ports avoid paying for new trucks by forcing their independent drivers into company-sponsored lease-to-own programs. Drivers can work 20 hours a day for “pennies,” said the report, and may still owe their bosses on payday after expenses.

“For truck drivers to be treated fairly and paid fairly, that’s a no-brainer,” said Representative Grace Napolitano, a Democrat of California, one bill sponsor. “We thought companies would do it without legislation, but that hasn’t happened. So we had to put it in writing.”

Truck modernization is underway at California ports since a law banned aging and polluting trucks from Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.

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