NAFTA and Mexican trucks
I haven’t been too interested in politics for quite awhile now. I’m really still not, but OOIDA, the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association sent out a bulletin today and its message hits straight home for all American truck drivers.
The dispute between the U.S. and Mexico over the NAFTA agreement to open our borders to Mexican truck drivers and trucking companies has been going on for many years now. After the last election, a halt was put to the Bush administration’s test program, and Mexico retaliated by raising their tariffs. It would have been nice if this had settled the issue, but everything is still up in the air on what might or might not be done in the future.
Here is a quote from today’s warning e-mail from OOIDA –
Yesterday the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched a new campaign to push the White House and Congress to open U.S. roads to Mexico-domiciled trucking companies and truck drivers. Though the Chamber has been pushing for Mexican trucks for many years, this campaign comes at a time when the organization is setting records for its spending on lobbying. Public records show that the US Chamber had over $123 million in lobbying expenses last year alone.
Don’t be confused by its name, the US Chamber of Commerce carries the water for multi-national corporations and does not represent the interests of local and state chamber of commerce organizations. They have incredibly deep pockets and no qualms about using their money to push the government to take actions that will economically benefit their largest members even if those actions trample on hardworking Americans and jeopardize the safety and security of our country.
As you read this, the Chamber and its allies are calling on Congressmen and twisting the arms of government officials. They see the fallout from the tariffs that Mexico has imposed on US exports as the best opportunity they have had in years to force open our border and our roads to truckers from Mexico. They well know that companies and drivers from Mexico will be cheap and exploitable.
I think all of us in trucking should be concerned about this new campaign, regardless of whether you are an owner-operator or a company driver. We will not be able to compete financially, and U.S. drivers will see wages drop and jobs disappear. Our futures are in jeopardy.
I also think anyone who drives on our highways should be concerned about this new campaign. Your safety could be at issue here.
We know money talks, and all we have to fight that cash is our voices. If you believe, like we do, that enough American jobs have been outsourced to other countries, I encourage you to contact your U.S. Senators and Representative to let them know how you feel about allowing Mexican truck drivers on our highways.
In addition, OOIDA has put out a call to action, asking citizens to call their congressman and tell him/her to sign Congressman Peter DeFazio’s letter which asks that NAFTA be renegotiated to exclude opening our borders to Mexican truck drivers and companies.
In my experience, I figure we’ll all just get screwed. It seems like Big Money always wins. Been happening for decades now in other industries and trucking looks likely to become just one more lost cause. I’ve called my congressman anyway. What the hell. It only took a few minutes.
I know of one mega-big U.S. trucking company which bought loads of land in Mexico last year. The buzz is they will be building terminals there.