Amidst decreasing pay, worsening working conditions, and frequent fraud, the USA faces a shortage of truckers. To add fuel to the fire, Florida Governor DeSantis passed a law targeting Florida immigrants, pissing off Latino truckers.
What followed was a protest by truckers against the laws and subsequent boycotts of the state. Social media sites are flooded with posts from Latino truck drivers who have expressed their opinion on the new law that will be enacted on July 1.
After just having recovered from a pandemic and the workforce already dwindling, the bill comes at the worst possible timing. DeSantis’ fellow Republicans might have praised the new law, but it has faced massive backlash from Latin Americans.
Why Are Truckers Not Going to Florida?
Governor Ron DeSantis’ new law is at the heart of the growing descent among Latino truck drivers. As Title 42 expired this week, no longer allowing quick expulsion of migrants, it raised concerns that it would lead to a spike in crossings.
Thus, SB 1718 has been passed, and it will target undocumented immigrants in the USA. It would also require employers to E-Verify if workers are authorized to work in the US. Hospitals will also need to collect details on undocumented patients. This new bill has incited Latin American truck drivers who see this as a targeted bill towards them. To express their discontentment, truckers have decided to boycott Florida.
It is estimated that SB 1718 will cause even more labor shortages in the States, as the bill targets immigrants, who make up the majority of the labor workforce.
Democrat from New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, tweeted regarding the bill. She describes the situation as the authorities “reaped what they sowed.”
What followed was an imminent lack of supplies in the state. If the protest continues for longer, the citizens will have to pay a heavy price.
What Is Causing US Truck Driver Shortage?
US truck drivers have taken a stand against decreased pay, fraud, and deteriorating working conditions. All these elements combined are causing a truck driver shortage in the USA.
Drivers have explained that they spend hours waiting to unload or load the truck’s cargo but aren’t paid for it. This disrupts the entire schedule, further affecting work and rest hours.
Seventy-five truckers held a protest outside the US Department of Transportation on May 1 in Washington, DC. They demanded action against wage theft, which was caused by a lack of overtime pay, and waiting times that often went unpaid. Transparency of freight bills was also demanded as it would eventually lead to proper compensation for drivers.
Studies show truck drivers’ average pay has rapidly dwindled compared to the late 1900s. In the 1980s, truckers would be paid $110,000 annually (inflation-adjusted), while it has come down to $48,000 today.
Paid detention time will compensate drivers for their work hours, not just their driving hours. Increasing cases of “double broker” fraud are also making the lives of drivers more challenging.
If the claims of truck drivers are granted, it would not only protect them against fraud but also give them rest hours that are not riddled with anxiety about their wages.
Naturally, the backlash against the DeSantis bill is intense as it targets not only immigrants but also those from the LQBTQ+ community. At a time when people should be banding together, the bill seems to be hell-bent on discrimination and endangering lives.
So, what do you think of the latest law that DeSantis is rallying for? How long do you think it will take Florida to return to its senses after facing the shortage? Tell us all about your opinion in the comments below.