The Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers and its coalition partners are actively monitoring the impact of California Assembly Bill 5, which was signed into law earlier this month, and could have a disastrous effect on Intermodal Truck Drivers, not just on the West Coast, but nationally.
AB5 sets a dangerous precedent that could ultimately lead to the elimination of the independent trucker model—something upon which the intermodal industry heavily relies, in order to provide the workforce flexibility that is essential to our business. The Independent Owner-Operator model is the preferred business model for approximately 70% of the drivers currently registered to serve the Port of NY & NJ.
Recent articles detailing the potential impact of AB5:
The passage of California’s Assembly Bill 5 (AB-5) makes employing owner operators more difficult for companies, such as Uber and Lyft, but its impact on the trucking industry “creates more questions than answers,” according to Weston LaBar, CEO of the Harbor Trucking Association (HTA), representing harbor trucking companies at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Truckers who own their own rigs, for example, were not exempted except when they deliver to a construction contractor licensed by the state. It is unclear how many of the thousands of truck drivers servicing the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach could be affected.
Raising the bar for using contract drivers “takes some of the nimble reaction to the freight market away from the trucking industry, [especially] in California where you have large port operations with a lot of freight coming in, and large volumes around Christmas,” said Greg Feary, president and managing partner of transportation law firm Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary, PC.
“AB5 could have been amended to address worker misclassification issues, as well as protect the 70,000 predominantly minority-owned truckers currently operating as independent contractors,” said Shawn Yadon, CEO of the California Trucking Association (CTA). “There is no reason why protecting workers does not include defending the right of tens of thousands of drivers who have built their businesses around the independent owner-operator model, invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in their trucks and have operated their own businesses for decades.”
The Bi-State and its coalition partners will continue to press for the preservation of the Owner-Operator model at the Port of NY & NJ.