Shippers oppose bill to unionize seaport drivers
August 03, 2010 - LM Editorial
In a blow to free enterprise, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. introduced a bill last week mandating the use of union drayage drivers at all U.S. seaports.
According to Nadler, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, his Clean Ports Act of 2010, will enhance the ability of ports to enact clean-air programs.
The National Industrial Transportation League and The Waterfront Coalition are among scores of shipping groups comprising the Clean and Sustainable Transportation Coalition who are opposed to the legislation.
“A campaign is underway to persuade Congress to grant to local governments the ability to regulate the port trucking industry to allegedly address environmental and port security matters,” stated spokesmen for the coalition. “Present law pre-empts state and local regulation of trucking in foreign and interstate commerce, except as it regards motor vehicle safety. We strongly support and have invested in efforts to improve air quality and port security in and around America’s ports.”
Coalition spokesmen noted, however, that the effort to undermine the preemption of state and local interference in interstate commerce is an attempt to overturn losses in the federal courts restricting local regulation of truck drayage services.
If successful, this effort will not improve air quality or security at our nation’s ports, they added.
“But it will result in a return to fragmented and patchwork regulations over foreign and interstate commerce, contrary to the U.S. Constitution, acts of Congress, and common sense,” said the Coalition in a letter sent out to representatives last week.
Shippers point out that Clean-trucks plans Long Beach already have resulted in the introduction of almost 7,000 new, low-emission trucks in the harbor fleet while permitting independent owner-operators to continue serving the port.
The Teamsters union, which is attempting to organize thousands of harbor truck drivers nationwide, has joined forces with a variety of community-based “progressives” to endorse the legislation.
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