TEAMSTERS CALL FOR FMC PROBE INTO OCEAN CARRIER ACTIVITIES
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has urged the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission to investigate ocean carrier practices under discussion agreements.
The Teamsters, who raised the issue with Congress last year, claim that ocean carriers' antitrust immunity, and setting voluntary guidelines that cap through inland transportation rates under discussion agreements, has resulted in declining wages for port drivers.
On average, port drivers earn $7 to $8 per hour, and OSRA and its retention of antitrust immunity is to blame, the 1.4-million-member union said.
“Over the past three years, port driver wages have actually declined, despite the fact that they earned poverty-level wages prior to OSRA,” the union said. “There is no free market for port drivers. There is no negotiation over inland trucking rates. Bankruptcies and truck repossessions have increased over the last three years, while foreign-owned ocean carriers and shippers post record profits.”
Current operations under OSRA “create gross inefficiency in the ports, and result in an unskilled pool of drivers,” the union said.
The union called for a “comprehensive investigation, including conducting field interviews, into the ocean carriers’ establishment of anticompetitive ceiling rates which flow down through every segment of the ocean transportation system and ultimately fall upon port drivers — the group left unprotected by OSRA.”