• ITVI.USA
    15,746.290
    48.010
    0.3%
  • OTRI.USA
    23.890
    0.480
    2.1%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,748.000
    48.490
    0.3%
  • TLT.USA
    2.810
    0.010
    0.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.640
    0.250
    7.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
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  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.450
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.300
    0.010
    0.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.020
    0.040
    2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.030
    0.130
    3.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    132.000
    7.000
    5.6%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,746.290
    48.010
    0.3%
  • OTRI.USA
    23.890
    0.480
    2.1%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,748.000
    48.490
    0.3%
  • TLT.USA
    2.810
    0.010
    0.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.640
    0.250
    7.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.680
    -0.160
    -5.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.450
    -0.060
    -4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.300
    0.010
    0.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.020
    0.040
    2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
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  • WAIT.USA
    132.000
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Driver issuesNewsTruckingTrucking Regulation

Long-haul driver launches petition calling for trucker protections during pandemic

Worker petitions gain steam as driver and warehouse worker concerns about safety and financial impacts of COVID-19 intensify

A long-haul driver has launched a petition calling on the federal government to provide protections to truck drivers in future COVID-19 stimulus legislation.

Rachelle Tuttle works for a midsize carrier in Michigan, hauling essential items to California every week, then returning with a load of produce. She tag-teams the drive with her husband, which leaves her a lot of time to think about how to plan for the eventuality that she or her husband contracts COVID-19. 

A best-case scenario is she or her husband tests positive and shows few symptoms. Even then the couple would be grounded for a few weeks. A  worst-case scenario is she or her husband is hospitalized. Either way, they would need someplace to self-isolate or quarantine — and the financial cushion to ensure their food and lodging expenses were covered.

Like many long-haulers, Tuttle does not receive paid sick leave, even though she is an employee. She has health insurance but must pay a $6,000 deductible before the benefits kick in.

Since the outbreak started, thousands of truck drivers have expressed frustration over the lack of guidance about what to do if they start showing symptoms on the road. Long haulers are away from home more often than not. So if a driver becomes ill with COVID-19, it is likely it will happen while they are away.

But weeks into the epidemic, there is no consensus about where truckers should go to self-isolate, what they should do with their truck, or how they might weather the loss in income as well as the costs associated with self-isolating or quarantining on the road.

“Why aren’t the higher-ups figuring out the protocol?” Tuttle said. “There’s some resentment here.”

A self-described planner, Tuttle four days ago channeled her resentment into a petition calling on federal agencies  for three action items: Open a hotline for drivers offering guidance on how to handle COVID-19 symptoms; provide 100% reimbursement of food and lodging for drivers who become ill; and ensure sick pay that is commensurate with drivers’ daily pay.

“It’s about having procedures in place and protections for us financially,” Tuttle said.  

Some of the concerns raised in the petition might be addressed through coronavirus legislation Congress has passed over the past two weeks.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) took effect Wednesday and requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.

The $2 trillion CARES stimulus package passed by Congress last week allows small trucking companies and other businesses in danger of permanently closing their doors as a result of COVID-19 to apply for immediate relief. The bill includes grants to provide paid sick leave to employees unable to work due to the direct effect of COVID–19.

Tuttle says that’s not enough, and she’s hoping to catch the eye of lawmakers who are readying additional stimulus packages to manage the enormous economic devastation that has been unleashed by the crisis.

As of late Wednesday, the petition had registered more than 10,200 signatories. “It’s caught on like wildfire,” Tuttle said. “We’ve got a lot of worried drivers. We’re just sitting out wherever in this great country. It’s horrible.”

Petitions calling for stricter financial and safety protections in the nation’s trucking and logistics sector are growing as concerns about COVID-19 intensify. On Wednesday the AFL-CIO and 40 elected officials in New York signed a letter that was sent to Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos calling on the company to shut down all warehouses until adequate COVID-19 protections are implemented.

The letter comes in the wake of the company firing a whistleblower on Amazon’s health and safety conditions in a Queens, New York, warehouse.

Linda Baker, Senior Environment and Technology Reporter

Linda Baker is a FreightWaves senior reporter based in Portland, Oregon. Her beat includes autonomous vehicles, the startup scene, clean trucking, and emissions regulations. Please send tips and story ideas to lbaker@freightwaves.com.

3 Comments

  1. Avatar Noble1 suggests SMART truck drivers should UNITE & collectively cut out the middlemen from picking truck driver pockets ! UNITE , CONQUER , & YOU'LL PROSPER ! IMHO says:

    quote:

    ” best-case scenario is she or her husband tests positive and shows few symptoms. Even then the couple would be grounded for a few weeks. A  worst-case scenario is she or her husband is hospitalized. Either way, they would need someplace to self-isolate or quarantine — and the financial cushion to ensure their food and lodging expenses were covered.”

    This sort of scenario really demonstrates why the trucking industry really needs to be reorganized . Not simply due to the coronavirus or the flu , but for many other reasons as well .

    Hopefully for long haul truck drivers sake it will be before the autonomous trucks come in as a replacement .

    Best of luck with the petition !

    On another note , how many of you saw Vice President Mike Pence visiting the Walmart Distribution Center in Zion Crossroads on Wednesday on the news ?

    What’s wrong with his behavior ? Is he respecting “social distancing” measures during his visit , or is his proximity to others too close for comfort ? What about the ones around him ? That’s the problem and the unfortunate cause leading to the spread of the coronavirus and increased infected victims ! He nor Trump walk the talk ! They should be role models .

    In my humble opinion …………

    1. Check it out on YouTube :

      Pence visits Walmart Distribution Center in Virginia

      Then check out :

      Trump extends US social distancing guidelines as coronavirus outbreak worsens

      Quote:

      “President Donald Trump extended the United States’ recommendations on social distancing on Sunday as the death toll due to the coronavirus outbreak increased.
      The US currently has more cases of coronavirus than any other country in the world with more than 140,000 confirmed as testing has ramped up in the last few weeks. More than 2,400 people have died in the country of 330 million.”

      Anyone wonder why the US currently has more cases of coronavirus than any other country in the world ???

      Wait a minute ! While Mr.Pence and Mr.Trump are not following social distancing orders that they are enforcing on the public , the public that don’t conform to these orders are getting arrested and fined !

      Quote:

      Police are arresting and fining people for violating social distancing orders

      Quote:
      “Across the nation, people are under strict orders to follow social distancing guidelines in order to lower the risk of coronavirus spreading.

      But, some people have ignored the Trump administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation to avoid mass gatherings and maintain distance from others. As a result, some local officials are cracking down.”

      Here is an article to remove any potential ambiguity to what social distancing implies .

      Quote:

      Social distancing means standing 6 feet apart. Here’s what that actually looks like

      ” (CNN)We’ve been advised to stand 6 feet apart from others to lower our risk of getting infected with the coronavirus. But how can we tell whether we’re standing just far away enough from people, or if we need to tell them to back up a little bit more?

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes social distancing as “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.”

      Why? When someone coughs or sneezes, small drops of liquid spray from their nose or mouth. If you’re standing too close, you can breathe in the droplets, which may contain the coronavirus if the person coughing is infected, according to the World Health Organization.
      The “6 feet of distance” rule comes from studies of respiratory physiology, said Dr. William Schaffner, infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University.

      “Without a cough or a sneeze, if we exhale, the distance 3 to 6 feet from each other is called the breathing zone. And it’s in that kind of volume of air that what I exhale begins to mix with the air that’s already in the room,” Schaffner said. “So if you’re standing within 3 to 6 feet of me, you may well inhale some of what I exhale. And of course if I have the virus, what I’m exhaling microscopically contains the virus.”
      End quote .

      You may like to observe and notice the proximity of Mr.Trump and Dr. Fauci in the picture in this article titled :

      Trump extends US social distancing guidelines as coronavirus outbreak worsens

      Also notice the proximity of Mr.Trump and his team during certain broadcasts . They don’t follow the social distancing rules they are enforcing on the rest of the population in the USA !

      In my humble opinion …………

  2. A lot of talk about distillers re-rigging plants to make hand sanitizer, but no one seems to know anything about it,,,any help?

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