Apr 1, 2010 12:00 PM
Jeff McCaig leads association through a tough recession
I was pleased to see that the Tommy Hodges report on climate change included a recommendation for more productive vehicles. That has become the official policy of the American Trucking Associations. At last summer's board meeting, NTTC moved from negative to neutral on the issue.
BT: Where do we stand with the union-sponsored card-check initiative?
McCaig: I don't think card-check is dead. I think it will come back in one form or another. However, it will be hard for the unions to move card-check up the priority list with so many other high-profile competing issues. I don't think the unions will let up on the issue.
BT: How would card-check impact the tank truck industry?
McCaig: It would introduce an element of unfairness to the labor relationship in our industry. However, I think the more progressive companies in our industry will learn to live with that kind of legislation and regulation that puts them at a greater disadvantage in terms of communicating with their employees.
BT: How would card-check impact smaller carriers?
McCaig: I think smaller carriers have the advantage of being very close to their drivers, and I think they would be in as good a position as any fleet to fight off the card-check impact.
The bigger companies, like Trimac, would have to become much more vigilant. Carriers in the middle would face the greatest competitive disadvantage. They are big enough that it's hard to maintain strong personal relationships with each of their drivers, but they lack the kinds of programs that would protect them from a union organizer saying “I can give you better than what you are currently getting from your employer.”
BT: What is the outlook for owner-operator drivers?
McCaig: I believe there is still a future for the owner-operator. The concern I have for owner-operators is related to an ongoing series of court cases and federal and state regulations that call into question the nature of the company/owner-operator relationship. If it is no longer treated as a truly independent relationship of one business with another, you begin to lose some of the justification for that arrangement.
This could have a chilling effect on the ability of truck drivers to build their own small businesses as owner-operators. It could diminish the small business sector.
BT: What do you see for cap-and-trade, greenhouse gas restrictions, and the other climate-related regulatory activity?
McCaig: I am one of those that really questions the “facts” related to the global warming claim. However, I can buy into the idea that conservation of our energy resources is still a good thing. We're better off if we can figure out ways to conserve energy. I don't believe, though, that we need to dramatically reduce our standard of living.
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