The trucking industry will lose drivers if it is not exempted from the US government’s vaccine mandates – ATA


HOUSTON (ICIS) – The U.S. trucking industry, already missing more than 80,000 drivers, risks losing even more if the U.S. government doesn’t exempt it from coronavirus vaccine mandates, according to a panelist at the ICIS virtual summit for plastic packaging.

Bill Sullivan, executive vice president for advocacy at American Trucking Associations, said a recent survey of approximately 120,000 truck drivers found that up to a third said they would retire or look for another company if forced to to take the vaccine.

“We have pushed for the safety of our employees and our employers have been working on public health guidelines to ensure that our mostly remote employees – who are mostly isolated in the cab of a truck during their working day – are safe.” said Sullivan.

He said President Joe Biden’s administration on Thursday released a framework for its vaccine policy that made no exception for the trucking industry.

In a White House statement, the administration said it would provide details of OSHA’s requirements for employers with 100 or more employees to ensure that each of their workers is fully vaccinated or vaccinated for COVID- Tests being tested. 19 at least weekly.

Sullivan said the trucking industry had lower infection rates and lower death rates than the average American.

“We are confident – we will fight this as best we can,” said Sullivan, adding that he hoped the industry can work constructively with the White House.

“So far we haven’t been exempted,” he said. “But we hope that some of these remote worker or isolated work conditions could be something we can track. I only know: if we already have a shortage of 80,000 drivers – even if only 3% leave the workforce, that is still catastrophic, measured at our location. ”

Sullivan said the annual survey of the industry found a shortage of 80,000 drivers, up significantly from the shortage of 61,000 in the pre-pandemic survey.

“We’re seeing a lot of wear and tear,” he said. “The average age of a truck driver is older than the average American worker. We’re just not able to replace the turnover we see in any given year. ”

Sullivan added that port problems on the Pacific coast are being exacerbated a little by some of California’s unique regulations and laws about who can go into ports with what equipment.

“It was all with good intentions, but they add to the problems we have today,” he said.

The supply chain crisis is also affecting the ability of freight forwarders to buy new drilling rigs, he said.

“Equipment – companies are trying to replace trucks – but the newer equipment is based on higher technology and higher quality components, so microchip shortages are also becoming a big problem,” he said.

The ICIS Plastics Packaging Summit, sponsored by the Plastics Industry Association, runs through Friday.

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