Friday, May 30, 2014


This week doing our pre-trip meeting at SBO, dispatch let us know that any first time HM violations will now be a write up which will not fall off until 12 months. No verbal or written warning!

So if there is any doubt with a pick up of HM ,bol, placards, id numbers, let dispatch know and let them decide if you should pick up the freight.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Truck Driver Coercion Rule Puts Spotlight on Shippers, Supply Chains William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | May 14, 2014 3:36PM EDT

For years, truck drivers have complained about

being pushed by dispatchers and others to

violate federal regulations to meet unrealistic

delivery deadlines. Soon, truckers may have a

way to push back.

A proposal published in the May 13 Federal

Register targets “coercion” against truckers and

would hit offenders — including motor carriers,

logistics operators and shippers — with

penalties of up to $11,000 per incident, and

possible revocation of the operating authority of

a trucking company, freight broker or forwarder.

The proposed rule is the latest step toward

extending the regulatory reach of the Federal

Motor Carrier Safety Administration beyond

trucking to the broader supply chain. The

FMCSA is looking into issues such as driver

detention to determine how action or inaction

by shippers, consignees and other supply chain

partners can affect truck driver health, well-

being and safety.

“Safety has got to be part of the supply chain,

part of logistics planning, just as sustainability

and efficiency are,” FMCSA Administrator Anne

S. Ferro said during a panel discussion at the

annual meeting of the Transportation and

Logistics Council in Nashville, Tennessee, in


The FMCSA began studying the effects of

excessive detention at shipper and receiver

sites in 2012, recently completing the first

phase of its investigation. The second phase of

the detention study is set to begin shortly.

The agency is also studying the connection

between detention, driver pay and highway

safety. At the Transportation Research Board

meeting in Washington in January, Ferro called

detention “not just inefficiency in the supply

chain, but inefficiency that is placed on the

back of truckers and for which they are not


The Obama administration included language

in the Grow America Act — the White House’s

$302 billion surface transportation spending

proposal — that would require truck drivers who

are paid per mile also be paid for non-driving

time at an hourly rate not less than the federal

minimum wage, currently $7.25 per hour.

Although the Obama bill may have less chance

of advancing in Congress than a fuels tax

increase, the driver pay provision does indicate

how the administration is thinking about driver

and truck safety issues.

Ferro said Congress gave the agency a freer

hand to oversee supply chains in the 2012

Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century

Act or MAP-21, by ordering the agency to issue

an anti-coercion rule, along with an electronic

logging mandate. MAP-21, “extends the

agency’s authority to penalize into the shipping

world,” Ferro told the T&LC, ensuring “a holistic

approach to safety for that last mile.”

In its rule-making, the FMCSA goes farther than

Congress ordered. The agency’s proposed rule

would cover not just Federal Motor Carrier

Safety Regulations and Hazardous Materials

Regulations but the commercial regulations

governing motor carrier practices — such as

obtaining insurance and operating authority —

the FMCSA inherited from the Interstate

Commerce Commission.

The coercion rule-making should put

transportation intermediaries and shippers —

as well as trucking companies — on alert. In its

proposal, the FMCSA said Congress in MAP-21

decided to expand the reach of motor carrier

safety regulations “from the supply side … to

the demand side,” including shippers, receivers,

brokers, freight forwarders “and others that hire

motor carriers to provide transportation and

whose actions have an impact on CMV

(commercial motor vehicle) safety.”

The rule-making targets any company that

threatens drivers with “loss of a job, denial of

subsequent loads, reduced payment, denied

access to the best trips, etc.” for refusing to

operate a truck under circumstances they know

or should know would violate federal truck

safety rules.

For example, insisting a driver deliver a load on

a schedule that would be impossible to meet

without violating hours of service regulations,

or pressuring a driver to operate an unsafe

vehicle. The coercion rule would apply to

shippers or brokers when they assume the role

“normally reserved to the driver’s employer,”

the FMCSA said in its proposal. For example,

directing a driver to finish a run within a certain

time. That shipper or broker “may commit

coercion if it fails to heed a driver’s objection

that the request would require him/her to break

the rules,” the agency said. “When directing the

driver’s actions, these entities ‘should have

known’ whether the driver could complete the

run” without violating the work rules.

The driver would have to object for a threat to

constitute coercion, the agency said, asking for

comments on how drivers might modify their

interactions with shippers, receivers and

intermediaries in response to the rule.

Comments are due by Aug. 11, 2014.

The proposed rule could certainly lead to

changes in how shippers, receivers, brokers

and carrier dispatchers interact with drivers.

Some trucking companies may decide their

dispatch staff needs additional training.

Under the proposed rule, drivers would have 60

days to file a written coercion complaint with an

FMCSA division administrator, either the

administrator for the state where the coercion

occurred or the one for the state where the

company involved has its principal place of

business. Complaints sent to the FMCSA by e-

mail, letter, social media or phone will be

forwarded to the appropriate state FMCSA


The division administrator would then

determine whether a complaint was “non-

frivolous” and investigate accusations of

coercion, the FMCSA said in its proposal.

Contact William B. Cassidy at


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Twelve laid off employees at Biondi Schools in the Bronx and in Yonkers to receive backpay and offers of reinstatement

May 9, 2014

Twelve employees at the Biondi Elementary School in the Bronx, NY and at the Biondi Middle and High School in Yonkers, NY, who were laid off during bargaining for an initial collective-bargaining agreement, have received backpay and immediate offers of reinstatement as part of a settlement agreement reached on April 14, 2014.

The employees were laid off by Leake and Watts Services (the Employer), a non-profit agency in New York that provides special education at the Biondi Schools, among other places. On March 28, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board directed NLRB Region 2 –Manhattan to seek an order in Federal court requiring the Employer to reinstate the laid off employees, to rescind unilateral changes that had been made to the employees’ health insurance, to provide requested information to the Union, and to bargain in good faith with the Union. This temporary injunctive relief was sought to protect the right of the employees to have their chosen bargaining representative, Workers Essential at Leake and Watts, New York State United Teachers, AFT (the Union), to advocate on their behalf in collective bargaining and to prevent erosion of support for the Union due to the Employer’s alleged unlawful activities.

On April 14, 2014, before the petition for injunctive relief was filed in Federal court, Administrative Law Judge Lauren Esposito approved a global settlement agreement. While not admitting liability, the Employer agreed to offer reinstatement to the laid off employees, to provide them with backpay, to pay out-of-pocket medical expenses incurred by bargaining unit employees as a result of the unilateral changes to the employees’ health insurance, and to bargain in good faith with the Union. The Employer also agreed to post an e-mail a notice that addressed the alleged violations and advised employees of their rights under National Labor Relations Act.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

U.S. Creates 288,000 Jobs In April, Unemployment Rate Falls To 6.3%

U.S. Creates 288,000 Jobs In April, Unemployment Rate Falls To 6.3%

05/02/14 08:31 AM ET

The U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs in April, as the unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

Here's more from the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added a robust 288,000 jobs in April, the most in two years, the strongest evidence to date that the economy is picking up after a brutal winter slowed growth.

The Labor Department also said Friday that the unemployment rate sank to 6.3 percent, its lowest level since September 2008, from 6.7 percent in March. But the drop occurred because the number of people working or seeking work fell sharply. People aren't counted as unemployed if they're not looking for a job.

Many of those who stopped looking for work last month had been among the long-term unemployed — people out of work for six months or more. The number of long-term unemployed fell 300,000, the sharpest drop in 2½ years, to 3.5 million. Economists said most of them likely gave up looking for work rather than found jobs.

Yet the vigorous job growth in April provided confirmation that the U.S. economy is regaining its health after nearly stalling early this year, when a harsh winter nearly stalled growth. In addition to last month's burst of hiring, employers added more jobs in February and March than previously estimated. The job totals for those two months were revised up by a combined 36,000.

Employers have now added an average of 238,000 jobs the past three months, up from 167,000 in the previous three.

Sal Guatieri, an economist at BMO Capital Markets, said the surge in hiring "signals that American companies are optimistic the economy will snap back smartly after the largely weather-related slump in the first quarter."

Hiring last month was broad-based and included higher-paying jobs: Manufacturing gained 12,000, construction 32,000. Professional and technical services, which include accounting and engineering positions, added 25,100 jobs. The number of government jobs grew 15,000, mostly at the local level.

One sour note: Average hourly pay was unchanged at $24.31. Average wages have risen just 1.9 percent in the past 12 months, just above the annual inflation rate of 1.5 percent. In a healthy economy, wages grow at roughly a 3 percent to 4 percent pace.

The fall in the unemployment rate occurred because far fewer people than normal began looking for work last month. That lowered the number of people with jobs or looking for one by 806,000.

But Patrick O'Keefe, director of economic research at the consulting firm CohnReznick, noted that that figure tends to fluctuate sharply from month to month: The exodus of job-seekers in April came after nearly 1.3 million people had begun working or looking for work in the first three months of the year.

Diane Swonk, an economist at Mesirow Financial, noted that the expiration of extended unemployment benefits at the end of 2013 likely fueled last month's drop in the number of long-term unemployed. That's because people are required to look for work to receive unemployment benefits. Once their benefits expired, many frustrated job-seekers likely stopped looking.

April's solid job growth wasn't enough to boost stock prices. The Dow Jones industrial average fell nearly 23 points in mid-day trading.

The jump in hiring comes after a spate of other data showed that the economy is improving. Consumers are ramping up spending, businesses are ordering more goods and manufacturers are expanding. The strengthening numbers show that harsh snowstorms and frigid cold in January and February were largely to blame for the economy's scant growth at the start of the year.

The economy barely expanded from January through March, eking out an annual growth rate of just 0.1 percent, down from a 2.6 percent rate in the final three months of 2013. Americans spent more last quarter on utilities and health care, but their spending on goods barely rose. Businesses also reduced spending, and exports fell.

Still, other data indicate that the economy was already rebounding in March and probably improved further in April. Consumers bought more cars and spent more at shopping malls. Overall consumer spending soared in March by the most in 4½ years.

Spending is up partly because Americans earned a bit more, and confidence has improved from the bleak winter months. Incomes rose 0.5 percent in March, the government said, the most since August.

And a private survey showed that manufacturing activity accelerated in April for a third straight month.

Businesses are also investing more in machinery and equipment after cutting back in those areas in January and December. Business orders for manufactured goods jumped in March, the government said last week.

All told, the positive news has led most economists to forecast a strong rebound in economic growth — to a 3.5 percent annual rate in the current April-June quarter. And growth should reach nearly 3 percent for the full year, up from 1.9 percent in 2013, they expect.


Follow Chris Rugaber at

Friday, May 2, 2014

Senate Republicans Block minimum wage bill

The Senate voted on Wednesday against going ahead on a bill that would gradually increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour, another rejection for legislation that has been a major focus of the Democrats' 2014 midterm campaign.

The final vote count was 54 to 42, with Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), who supports the legislation, taking the procedural step of voting against the bill so that he can reintroduce it at a later time.

In a news conference following the vote, top Democrats vowed to reintroduce the bill this year.

"Soon," said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, (D-N.Y.), as he ducked into an elevator following the vote. "Sometime soon."

However, it remains unclear when --if at all -- they will reintroduce it and whether they have any path toward winning approval this year.

They needed to amass 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster of the bill, which was introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). But they were able to sway only one Republican -- Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.) -- to vote in favor of proceeding. Even if the measure had passed in the Senate, the chances that a minimum wage increase widely opposed by the GOP could make it through the Republican-run House of Representatives this year seemed improbable.

But the bill is part of the Democrats' broader "Fair Shot for All" midterm campaign, so they are likely to continue to push the minimum wage through the fall despite the vote, banking on its popularity among voters to lift their prospects. Democrats are arguing that they are the party looking out for average Americans while Republicans are the party of special interests.

"By preventing even a vote on this bill they prevented a raise for 28 million hardworking Americans. They said no to helping millions work their way out of poverty," President Obama said during a news conference this afternoon. "They told Americans like the ones who are here today that: you're on your own."

The Democrats have also been pushing popular bills that would extend emergency unemployment insurance and address paycheck disparities between men and women, as well as a bipartisan manufacturing jobs bill. But on the roster of "fair shot" legislation, the minimum wage increase was a major focus of top Democrats, including Obama and members of his cabinet.

Four senators -- Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R- Miss.) -- missed the vote.

Pryor, Cochran and Wicker were in their home states dealing with the response to deadly tornadoes. Boozman was home recovering from heart surgery. All four were expected to vote against advancing the bill.

Democrats immediately expressed outrage at the bill's failure.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the vote was evidence of the "Republican disregard for the working people of our nation," while Labor Secretary Thomas Perez also quickly condemned the vote.

"The senators who voted "no" today are doing so contrary to the wishes of the American people," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Wednesday.

Had Congress debated and then passed the minimum wage bill, it would have gradually raised the $7.25 hourly minimum wage to $10.10 over the course of 30 months. It also would have provided automatic annual increases pegged to inflation.

Several public polls find most Americans support raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10, including 69 percent a March Bloomberg News poll and 65 percent in a February CBS News/New York Times survey. In the latter poll, sizeable majorities of independents (62 percent) and Democrats (86 percent) supported a wage hike, while 54 percent of Republicans opposed the idea.

While not among Americans' top priorities for Obama and Congress, Democrats' could benefit from an higher profile battle over the minimum wage as the midterm election approaches. Half of Americans in a March Washington Post-ABC News poll said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports raising the minimum wage; 19 percent would be less likely while the rest said it makes no difference.

Republicans insisted that raising the federal minimum wage would hurt businesses and would not be a substantive step to addressing poverty.

"If our purpose is to increase the wages of all Americans, I believe there are better ways to accomplish this goal," said Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.), the senior Republican on the Joint Economic Committee, in a statement after the vote. "Raising the minimum wage creates winners and losers -- it will raise the wages of some but result in job losses for many low-income workers. The true problem plaguing impoverished Americans is not low wage rates but a lack of good job opportunities."

While Democrats vow to continue fighting in favor of the minimum wage and paycheck fairness legislation, they also acknowledge that their inability to get these measures passed into law could help them in 2014.

Essentially, they could win by losing.

Much of the Democrats 2014 strategy rests on their ability to paint Republicans as out of touch with everyday Americans. By introducing a series of bills that are popular with Americans but that end up being blocked by Republicans, the Democrats hope to mobilize their voter base in advance of November elections in which the desperately need strong turnout among their base if they want to retain control of the Senate.

Scott Wilson and Scott Clement contributed to this report.