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Teamster Union Strikes Against DHL

More than 1,100 DHL Express Teamster located at the Cincinnati/North Kentucky International Airport (CVG) announced their strike on Thursday, Dec. 7.

Union members are protesting against unfair labor practices and are demanding the company negotiate more fair contracts. 

“For too long, DHL has walked all over our rights to collective action,” said Gina Kemp, a DHL-CVG ramp and tug worker. “We were forced to go on strike to put an end to DHL’s illegal anti-union behavior. This company’s repeated acts of disrespect — from the tarmac where we work to the bargaining table — leave me and my co-workers with no choice but to withhold our labor.”

According to a news release, the workers voted to strike in April 2023.

The Teamster union group has filed a handful of unfair labor practices with the National Labor Relations Board during and since the organizing campaign, including for DHL’s retaliation against pro-union workers. The NLRB is prosecuting the company civilly for its illegal actions.

DHL Express is a profitable division of Deutsche Post AG, a publicly traded global company based in Germany. 

DHL Express alone recorded a $4.3 billion operating profit in 2022 from worldwide operations, while the parent company’s revenue topped $100 billion.

“DHL bosses are pocketing billions as many of these workers live paycheck to paycheck,” said Bill Hamilton, director of the Teamsters Express Division. “Meanwhile, this anti-worker company has the audacity to disrespect rank-and-file workers who are simply trying to stand up for themselves at the bargaining table. Enough is enough.”

“DHL must stop breaking the law and give workers their fair share. They can afford it,” said Bill Davis, President of Local 100. “The company forced this work stoppage, but DHL has the opportunity to right this wrong by respecting our members and coming to terms on a strong contract.”

The union, the company said, has “decided to increase the external rhetoric and communicate inaccuracies around the status of these CVG Hub negotiations, we have consistently sought to bargain in good faith and to find constructive solutions at the negotiating table. The company’s contingency plan includes temporarily sending cargo to other DHL facilities and using supplemental airline or contractor staff at CVG to fill vacancies. We expect no disruption to services. Our customers should remain confident in our ability to provide the excellent service they expect and require.”

CARB Approves $624 Million in EV Funding for Semi-Trucks

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has greenlit a substantial funding plan of almost $624 million for its electric vehicle incentive programs, with a strong focus on promoting equitable access and support for low-income and disadvantaged communities.

This funding, earmarked for the 2023-24 fiscal year, underscores CARB’s dedication to expediting the adoption of clean transportation and curbing air pollution throughout the state.

A pivotal element of the funding plan is the prioritization of bolstering equitable access, resources, and support for underserved communities. 

CARB has revealed that 63% of the investment funds will be channeled towards this objective, underscoring the significance of ensuring that all Californians have the opportunity to reap the benefits of new and emerging vehicle technologies. 

This includes initiatives such as the Clean Cars 4 All and financing assistance projects, which seek to provide up to $12,000 in vouchers and financing assistance to help low-income individuals replace older cars with zero-emission vehicles.

Additionally, the plan encompasses support for a new e-bike incentive project that will offer up to $1,250 in vouchers to low-income Californians, further promoting sustainable mobility options.

In addition to its focus on equitable access, the funding plan encompasses a diverse array of projects aimed at advancing clean transportation across different sectors.

$375 million has been allocated to aid public school districts in purchasing zero-emission buses, contributing to the electrification of school transportation and reducing emissions in the vicinity of schools.

The plan includes support for shared mobility projects, financing assistance for small fleet operators, and funding to assist drayage fleet operators in their transition toward zero-emission options. These initiatives reflect CARB’s comprehensive approach to promoting clean transportation and addressing air quality challenges in the state.

To ensure the effective implementation of the funding plan, CARB has also announced an expanded outreach process that encompasses surveys, meetings with community-based organizations, and the addition of monthly virtual meetings held in the evenings to enhance access for Californians who face barriers to participating in the public process.

CARB’s funding plan for clean transportation incentives represents a substantial investment in advancing the adoption of electric vehicles and other clean transportation technologies. 

By prioritizing equitable access and support for underserved communities, while also implementing a diverse set of projects across different sectors, CARB is working to accelerate the transition toward a cleaner, more sustainable transportation system in California.

November Class 8 Truck Orders Increased


Preliminary North American November Class 8 net orders were 41,700 units, rising by 9,000 units from both October and year-ago, according to ACT Research.

While these are preliminary numbers, the official numbers will be made available by ACT Research by mid-December. 

“November Class 8 net orders were the highest monthly intake since October 2022,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “A modest seasonal factor presses down gently this month, with seasonal adjustment dropping November’s SA intake to 40,100 units, making November the best ‘real’ order month since September 2022. Since the filling of 2024’s orderboards began in earnest in September, Class 8 orders have been booked at a 413k SAAR.”

They are “still good, for sure, but solid, rather than stellar,” he concluded.

Last month, October Class 8 truck sales was not a great month for the industry. October data showed orders fell 24.9% to 31,900 units from 42,500 during the year-ago period.

“The Class 8 backlog should rise by around 3,400 units when full October data are released in mid-November. If those numbers hold, Class 8 backlogs will have ended October at around 165,000 units,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT.

“Year-to-date preliminary sales data indicate an increase of 10% in heavy-duty vehicle sales for U.S. and Canada compared to the same period last year,” said Jonathan Randall, president of Mack Trucks North America. “Demand for Class 8 vehicles was strong in September as customers renewed fleets coinciding with an earlier opening of order books.”

Analysts predict that 2024 will bring better order rates for semi-trucks.

“A strong seasonal factor presses down on ‘real’ orders this month, with seasonal adjustment dropping October’s intake to 25,800 units — still good for the third-best order month in the past 12 months,” said Vieth.

Proposed EV Tax Credit Changes for Semi-Truck Owners

A newly proposed rule, announced Dec. 1 could make it more difficult for electric vehicles to qualify for the full $7,500 federal tax credit

This rule complicates President Joe Biden’s goal of half of new passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. to run on electricity by 2030.

The rule, outlined by the departments of Treasury and Energy, would limit EV buyers from claiming the full tax credit if they purchase cars containing battery materials from China and other countries that are considered hostile to the United States.

The new proposal, required under Biden’s signature climate law approved last year, is likely to slow consumer acceptance of electric vehicles just as Biden is trying to ramp up sales to help meet his goal to cut planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.

EV sales have tripled since Biden took office, but the U.S. still depends on foreign sources, especially China, for many of the critical minerals needed to produce EV batteries.

Congress included language in the Inflation Reduction Act that bars electric cars from qualifying for the full tax break if critical minerals or other battery components were made by a “foreign entity of concern.” 

The law defines that as any company that is owned by, controlled by or subject to the jurisdiction of North Korea, China, Russia or Iran, although the main target is China.

“Automakers have already adjusted the supply chain to ensure buyers are eligible for these credits and are continuing to do so,” Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told reporters this week. “These changes take time, but companies are making the investments and Americans are buying these cars.”

“Clarity is exactly what we’re after with manufacturers in particular as they make major investments in EVs that are vital for the future growth of this important industry,” Deputy Energy Secretary David Turk said.

“These are sophisticated players,” Turk added, referring to the auto industry. Ford, GM and other U.S. companies ”are moving already” to boost U.S. supplies of batteries and critical minerals and will move further to comply in coming months, Turk said.

UAW Looking to Unionize at 13 Non Union Auto Workers

The United Auto Workers is campaigning to expand their auto worker union protection to Toyota Motor Corp., Volkswagen AG, and Tesla Inc.

This comes after UAW’s many victorious contracts with Ford Motors, Mack Trucks, and General Motors.

UAW is looking to expand their organization to nearly 150,000 employees at 13 different companies, this would nearly double the number of union members part of the organization.

The targeted automakers include foreign firms such as BMW AG and Nissan Motor Co., as well as electric vehicle makers like Rivian Automotive Inc. and Lucid Group Inc.

The union is unveiling a website Nov. 29 where workers can sign union cards online and get in touch with organizers for UAW. 

The UAW has already signed up thousands of workers across the targeted companies, a spokesperson said.

“To all the autoworkers out there working without the benefits of a union: Now it’s your turn,” UAW President Shawn Fain says in a video on the site, which also includes statistics on targeted automakers’ rising profits, executive compensation and vehicle prices. “You don’t have to worry about how you’re going to pay your rent or feed your family while the company makes billions. A better life is out there.”

The UAW cited a campaign at a Toyota assembly complex in Georgetown, Ky., as one of its strongest efforts so far.

“They can give you a raise today and jack up your health benefits tomorrow,” Jeff Allen, a 29 year-employee at the plant, said in an emailed statement from the union. “A union contract is the only way to win what’s fair.”

Retaliating against workers for trying to unionize is illegal, but employers are frequently accused of doing so anyway, and face no punitive damages if they are found by the government to have broken the law.

In an interview earlier in November, Fain said past efforts by the UAW failed because of the union’s corruption, coziness with bosses and bad contracts. But now, he said, “We can beat anybody.”

FMCSA Warns About Driver Violations to Lose CDL


FMCSA has tightened the punishment for semi-truck drivers who do not pass a drug test. 

Drivers who test positive for any drug use will not only be on prohibited driving status, but will lose their commercial driver licenses and not be issued learning permits until they complete the federal return-to-work process.

“A driver with a drug-and-alcohol program violation is prohibited from performing safety-sensitive functions, including operating CMVs, for any DOT-regulated employer until the return-to-duty process is complete,” said a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration notice on Nov. 28.

“By November 18, 2024, as part of new federal regulations, drivers with a ‘prohibited’ status in the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse will lose or be denied their state-issued commercial driving privileges.”

The final rule was issued October 2021, but according to an FMCSA spokesperson the message is to serve as a reminder that drivers who test positive will require state licensing agencies to take action when the failure results are posted in the Clearinghouse.

“A CDL license will remain prohibited until FMCSA has received notification that the driver has satisfied and completed the return-to-duty process,” the spokeswoman said. “Subsequently, FMCSA removes the violation from the Clearinghouse.”

“To remain in a ‘not prohibited’ status, your employer must complete the follow-up testing plan with you as specified by the SAP, which must include a minimum of six unannounced follow-up tests in the first 12 months of returning to performing safety-sensitive functions,” according to FMCSA. “If you are an owner-operator, your designated consortium/third-party administrator must complete your follow-up testing plan.”

Since the Clearinghouse was opened in January 2020, there have been 224,000 positive drug and alcohol tests recorded, the majority for positive marijuana drug tests.

As of the end of September, 149,374 drivers remained in prohibited status, with 113,639 not yet starting the return-to-work program.

Despite the research report by the American Transportation Research Institute that focused on driver marijuana test failures, FMCSA does not have its own research to explain why the majority of drivers test positive for marijuana. 

While legal in many states, there is zero tolerance for truck drivers and marijuana use.

New Agency To Oversee Freight Structure

The Biden administration has established a new government agency office that will oversee the maintenance and improvement of the nation’s freight network and supply chains across transportation modes.

Earlier this week we reported on how President Joe Biden will meet with his supply chain resilience council to discuss logistics in the United States for the first time.

During the meeting, Biden will discuss his 30 step action plan which aims to improve access to medicine and needed economic data and other programs tied to the production and shipment of goods.

During the meeting of the White House Council on Supply Chain Resilience, Biden and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced the launch of the Office of Multimodal Freight Infrastructure and Policy (Multimodal Freight Office).

The Office of Multimodal Freight Infrastructure and Policy is a new office within the DOT’s Office of the Undersecretary of Transportation for Policy established and funded by Congress to carry out the national multimodal policy.

Congress outlined that the Policy, also known as, “OST-F”, will administer and oversee certain multimodal freight grant programs, promote and facilitate the sharing of information between the private and public sectors with respect to freight issues, and conduct research on improving multimodal freight mobility.

Additionally, they will oversee research activities of the various agencies within the department, assist cities and states in developing freight mobility and supply chain expertise, liaise and coordinate with other federal departments and agencies, and carry out other duties, as prescribed by the secretary

“Since President Biden took office we have focused on supply chain improvements, not just to recover from pandemic-driven disruptions but also to make lasting improvements for a stronger and more resilient future,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.

“Our new Multimodal Freight Office will lead coordination of our work to strengthen supply chains – including the FLOW data initiative helping companies and ports make better-informed decisions — so that they can move goods more efficiently and keep costs down for Americans.”

Trucking Cares Foundation Donates $25k Toward Driver Training

The Trucking Cares Foundation, has donated $25,000 to the Center for Employment Training (CET), an organization that provides education and hands-on training to individuals seeking employment in high-demand fields.

The Trucking Cares Foundation is an organization dedicated to various initiatives aimed at improving the trucking industry’s safety, security, and sustainability. 

The foundation focuses on several key areas, including research/education, safety/security, and workforce/leadership development.

It aims to enhance the safety of the trucking industry and promote the well-being of truck drivers. 

Additionally, the foundation engages in charitable activities, such as donating funds to support truck driver training and combating human trafficking.

“CET’s mission is to equip individuals with skills that will enable them to obtain careers leading to self-sufficiency in high-demand occupations and prepare them for a lifetime of success,” said TCF Chairman Phil Byrd, president and CEO of Bulldog Hiway Express.

 “Through this donation, the Trucking Cares Foundation hopes to open the door of opportunity to more young people seeking economic independence and rewarding careers in the trucking industry.”

CET, or the Center for Employment Training, is an economic and community development corporation focused on promoting human development and education. It achieves this by providing individuals with marketable skills training and supportive services that contribute to self-sufficiency.

The organization operates multiple locations and offers technical training for positions in diverse fields, including truck driving, mechanics, medical assisting, and child care.

This training equips individuals with the necessary skills to pursue employment opportunities in these sectors, thereby contributing to both personal and community development.

“At the Center for Employment Training, our Truck Driving Program is more than just learning to operate a vehicle; it’s a commitment to human development and self-sufficiency,” said Hermelinda Sapien, president and CEO of CET. 

“Through hands-on skills training, we empower underserved and underrepresented populations with barriers to employability, providing a tangible pathway to gain the skills needed for a fulfilling and independent future. Our mission is to drive positive change by equipping individuals with the tools they need to navigate not just the roads but the journey toward self-reliance and success.”

Biden Will Unveil 30 Step US Logistics Plan

On Monday President Joe Biden will meet with his supply chain resilience council to discuss logistics in the United States for the first time.

During the meeting, Biden will discuss his 30 step action plan which aims to improve access to medicine and needed economic data and other programs tied to the production and shipment of goods.

“We’re determined to keep working to bring down prices for American consumers and ensure the resilience of our supply chains for the future,” said Lael Brainard, director of the White House National Economic Council and a co-chair of the new supply chain council.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic in recent years, the United States saw record breaking inflation increases and this directly impacted the supply chain.

According to a report from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), trucking cost per mile has jumped 34% since 2021, with marginal costs reaching $2.251 per mile in 2022, surpassing the $2 per mile mark for the first time in history.

Additionally, truck and trailer payments increased by 18.6% to $0.331 per mile, largely due to equipment impediments in the supply chains, while repair and maintenance costs rose by 12% to $0.196 per mile.

Currently, consumer prices are down from last year but polling data still suggests that people are not happy with Biden’s tactic to combat rising costs, and the ongoing supply chain management.

Among the 30 new actions, Biden will use the Defense Production Act to have the Health and Human Services Department invest in the domestic manufacturing of needed medicines that are deemed crucial for national security. 

The Cabinet agency has identified $35 million to invest in the production of materials for injectable medicines.

The federal government will also attempt to improve its supply chain monitoring and logistics through data sharing with other agencies.

The Commerce Department has developed new tools to assess risks to the supply chain and has partnered with the Energy Department on the supply of renewable energy resources.

Besides Brainard, the council will be co-chaired by Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser. 

Other members include heads of Cabinet departments, the U.S. trade representative, the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers and the directors of National Intelligence, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Highway Construction Costs Increase


Rising inflation is resulting in increased costs on highway construction costs.

In the first quarter of 2023 project costs increased 53.8% from $2.86 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to the latest data from the Federal Highway Administration.

FHWA has kept a National Highway Construction Cost Index, using data on successful bids on state highway building projects measuring information from the viewpoint of buyers.

The average price charged is calculated for each item in each state, with price changes combined into a national index. Information includes quotes on specific items in projects (material like steel and asphalt, labor costs, profit and overhead).

Construction costs affect the amount governments invest in new roads, highways and bridges, particularly in using the outflow of federal funds from the bipartisan infrastructure law of 2021, which provides $350 billion from fiscal years 2022 through 2026 to states and other municipalities for highway and bridge construction projects.

“The NHCCI reached a new all-time high in the first quarter of 2023; increasing 2.7% from the previous quarter. The second quarter of 2022 (11.9%) grew faster than any other quarter in this 2.5-year span,” noted the Bureau of Transportation Statistics in its NHCCI “2023 Year-in-Review.”

“Over the 10 quarters [from the fourth quarter of FY2020 through FY2023Q1], highway construction costs grew 53.8%,” BTS determined.

The data noted that factors other than construction material input prices “may be contributing to inflation” this year. When looking at asphalt, for example, costs for “labor, transportation or price markup may be driving that portion of the cost increase as opposed to the cost of the material itself,” an FHWA economic analyst said.

“Compared to the historical quarterly average of 1.4% growth, this [2.7% increase] is still higher than average inflation but less than the high inflation observed during 2021 and 2022, where average quarterly growth was 5.2%. This suggests that the elevated inflation in 2021 and 2022 may have been driven by supply chain disruptions and fluctuating oil prices,” they continued.