The Departments of Transportation and Labor announced expanded efforts to improve truck driver training, recruitment and retention.
This includes expansion of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s truck driver apprenticeship programs to include additional employers from participants in the initial pilot.
More than 100 employers and industry partners have stepped forward to work to expand Registered Apprenticeships since the program was launched in mid-December, DOT reported.
“In some parts of the trucking industry, 90% of drivers turn over each year. Making sure truck drivers are paid and treated fairly is the right thing to do, and it will help with both recruiting new drivers and keeping experienced drivers on the job,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
According to Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, “In the 30 days since the Administration’s Driving Good Jobs Initiative was launched, there is new energy and enthusiasm behind the effort to ensure jobs in the trucking industry are good, safe and sustainable jobs, attractive to a new generation of truck drivers who will remain in the industry over the long term.”
Given the Biden administration’s pronounced antipathy to independent contractor status (see related article in this issue), a more ominous development was the announcement that DOT and DOL joined the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to launch an investigation into alleged unfair leasing and loan practices.
Called the Truck Leasing Task Force, it will review existing leasing arrangements to identify actions that could result in making possible predatory leasing practices that are identified more equitable and transparent, the government announced.
“Too many American truckers are set up to fail with financing schemes or coerced into paying junk fees,” declared CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “To keep our economy moving, we must ensure that truckers who work hard don’t face financial ruin.”