Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mexican trucks: Today's attack on the middle class

Once again the multinationals are having their way with the U.S. government at the expense of the American middle class. Today U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and his counterpart in Mexico signed away thousands of good American trucking and warehousing jobs by agreeing to open the border to Mexican trucks.

The Teamsters will fight to keep the border closed to dangerous trucks, as they have for almost two decades. Teamster General President Jim Hoffa had harsh words for the agreement:
Opening the border to dangerous trucks at a time of high unemployment and rampant drug violence is a shameful abandonment of the DOT’s duty to protect American citizens from harm and to spend American tax dollars responsibly.
This so-called pilot program is a concession to multinational corporations that send jobs to Mexico. It erodes our national security. It endangers motorists. It ignores the rampant corruption among Mexican law enforcement. It lowers wages and robs jobs from hard-working American truck drivers and warehouse workers.

It adds insult to injury to force U.S. taxpayers to pay for monitoring equipment on Mexican trucks so Mexican carriers can take away their jobs. The DOT shows more loyalty to the Mexican people than it does to Americans.
The Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association isn't pleased either. Their press release said small-business truckers and drivers are fuming about the deal. Said OOIDA President Jim Johnston,

If the agreement is good for the U.S. why the hell is he (Secretary LaHood) sneaking down there to sign it?” ... Why not let the public see the details before signing the agreement? Seems like the Administration is dead set on caving to Mexico’s shakedown regardless of the costs to the American public and our tax coffers.
And Rep. Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat, filed a bill today to limit the pilot program and forbid the U.S. government from spending taxpayer money on equipment for Mexican trucks.  DeFazio said,
...three issues must be addressed in the cross-border trucking program: safety, security and job loss. I have sent several letters to DOT asking them to address these issues. My calls for caution have gone unanswered. My legislation puts the brakes on a bad deal for American truck drivers and the traveling public...As we debate deep and harsh cuts to programs that help middle class families, it is outrageous that taxpayers are being told to foot the bill for the Mexican trucking industry to comply with American safety standards...