ATA: Pro-union groups
mislead about port issues
Oct 6, 2009 2:49 PM
In six press releases from various union and pro-union sources, backers of the Teamsters’ effort to change federal law in order to organize port drayage truck drivers are misleading the public and encouraging use of taxpayer money to help organize unions, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA).
The ATA maintains the press releases contain falsehoods about the Clean Trucks Program in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and the ATA’s support of those programs. The ATA has supported the Clean Trucks Program in both ports, and its members have helped the ports replace older trucks with newer, cleaner trucks at a rate ahead of schedule. Neither port has enforced the concession plan requirements the US Court of Appeals declared illegal in March. The releases suggest the Clean Truck Programs cannot succeed without those concession plan requirements in place.
“The union-led effort uses a campaign for clean air as a cover for an all-out effort to destroy small independent businesses owned by independent truck owner-operators and replace them with larger trucking companies whose employees can be more easily organized by the Teamsters,” said ATA Vice President of Public Affairs Clayton Boyce. “Unions and their supporters are wrongly claiming that banning independent owner-operators is necessary to clean the air. The recent experience in the Port of Los Angeles, where clean air efforts are far ahead of schedule even though the LA ban on owner-operators has been enjoined, has shown that claim to be false.”
The releases were issued on the first anniversary of the Los Angeles and Long Beach truck plans by:
- Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which has frequently attacked the ATA for challenging the illegal and unconstitutional Los Angeles concession plan.
- New Jersey Environmental Federation, which backs a pro-union plan in the Port of New York and New Jersey.
- Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.
- Teachers Association of Long Beach.
- Center for Environmental Health, Oakland CA, which wants to ban owner-operators in the Port of Oakland.
- Puget Sound Sage, which says the group “brings together labor, faith and community to build an economy based on shared prosperity.” That group also wants to ban owner-operators from the Port of Seattle-Tacoma.
The Port Clean Truck Programs clean the air by banning older trucks, an action which ATA supports. By the end of 2011, only trucks that meet 2007 model year emission requirements will be allowed into the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. These 2007 model engines “exceeded substantially even those levels required by law,” said a study conducted by the Coordinating Research Council and the Health Effects Institute. Current engine models produced 98% less carbon monoxide, 10% less nitrogen oxide, 95% less non-methane hydrocarbons, and 89% less particulate matter than required by the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2007 diesel engine emission standards, the study said. Trucks’ environmental improvements also rest upon use of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel.
The US Court of Appeals and a US District Court ruled earlier this year that banning owner-operators from ports likely violates federal law, rejecting the argument from the Port of Los Angeles, the NRDC, and other groups that a ban was needed to help the port achieve environmental and safety goals. The Appeals Court belittled that position, noting that the judges “see little safety-related merit in those thread-paper arguments, which denigrate small businesses and insist that individuals should work for large employers or not at all.”
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