The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of FreightWaves or its affiliates.
The president has demonstrated again his complete disregard for the facts surrounding the private trucking industry. Last week’s announcement of the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) from OSHA, compelling companies with 100 or more employees to require full vaccination, will collapse the shaky supply chain overnight. Just witness the injunctions filed and the ambiguity in the ETS that describes at work at home versus outside work. Thank you, trucking associations, for looking out for the interest of the general public while the president is still playing politics.
Let me introduce some trucking metrics:
- On average 20% of the trucking companies control 80% of the drivers – all those companies have above 100 employees;
- An informal survey of our fleets shows approximately 50% of those drivers and technicians are vaccinated; and
- Of that 50%, 62% state overwhelmingly that the resistance is due to government interference and mandates.
It doesn’t take a genius to draw the conclusion that this mandate would send drivers to the sidelines on a temporary basis, or that they’d retire from trucking completely, or move to the smaller fleets. In all those situations the impact on the current supply chain would be devastating, due to the fact, in my humble opinion, this mandate will do very little to convince these folks to get vaccinated.
Let me point out the fact that the current administration has indicated that they feel the private trucking companies are the bottleneck to the supply chain. While challenged with the driver shortage that has been in effect for at least the past five years, they are now shackled with an equipment shortage of trucks and trailers. Their actual actions to solve the shortage are immense:
- Fleets recruiting and training drivers in the face of government assistance to keep them on the sidelines;
- Driver pay increased an average of 10-15% over the past year; and
- Plenty of good paying jobs are already available.
Our drivers and technicians throughout the supply chain are critical to keeping the economy going. This mandate will only add fuel to a problem that seems to be working itself out. When was the last time CNN lead with COVID updates? If the federal government wants to get traction for mandated vaccinations, let’s turn the attention from the private-market employers that have tax-paying employees, to the federally subsidized market of people that are getting government assistance. How about the administration and Congress cut off all federal assistance to those folks that do not show a proof of vaccination, and mask and testing as described in the ETS for the unvaccinated before payments continue? Whew. In the business world we call that accountability with enforcement.
Let’s keep on truckin’