Myself and other reporter's at UnionReview have been following this story since President Bush, against Congress was going to allow a pilot program starting on, of all days Labor Day in 2007 . according to report's on the matter in a story by Public Citizen:
Congress (2007) this year held hearings examining the plan to allow trucks from Mexico to travel beyond the border zones. Lawmakers uncovered serious safety deficiencies and deemed the pilot program a sham and in violation of existing law. In response, Congress passed a measure designed to ensure that any pilot program does not circumvent safety standards or congressional oversight and that such a program is conducted within strict parameters designed to facilitate informed decision making.This has been an up and down battle, and we have spent a lot of time gathering information about this situation, you can see our articles with this search of Union Review using the term Mexican Trucks:
According to Richie Negri in his aptly titled "The DOT tells Congress: F**K You! We will do what we want." on 1/4/08:
When Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) authored a provision that scrapped the pilot program allowing Mexican long-haul trucks into the United States, which was then included in the Omnibus Budget Bill that was signed by President Bush just before the Christmas break - that provision became federal law.
Interesting as it is, the Department of Transportation could give a shit about the law and has decided to go forward with its pilot program and ultimately became above the law.
The DOT is playing with the language of the amendment, saying the provision states that funds will not be used to establish a pilot program. So, they say ... We're cool with that because we already have a kick-ass unfair Mexican long-haul trucking program -- we don't need to establish another one.
The Senator is fired up, pissed off and disgusted. He wrote a letter to the DOT blasting them for their ass-backward move, saying, among other things, that the DOT's own Inspector General issued a report stating the pilot program was a disaster.
Working people really need to stand up and be heard on this issue. It is imperative on so many fronts, the least being that if you were to break a federal law, your ass would be in jail, when the DOT breaks the law, the President probably sends off a memo saying "job well done."
There is a whole blog on this issue over at Daily Kos ... please comment here and there, pass this along to everyone you know, and get as fired up as I am right now.
What in fact is the severity of the loophole, the current pilot program in its state violates 7 US laws, just a glance of the Fact or Fiction area of the Teamsters site would make anyone who drives on a road in the US afraid for their life. Trucks would get a typical glance from a US inspectors who are drastically understaffed, according to The Chief, the Civil Service Employee Weekly:
National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen M. Kelley, who represents 20,000 CBP workers, told the House Homeland Security Committee, which assembled in the Texas border town, that staff shortages have forced down morale among employees and adversely affected citizens trying to cross the border.Thats just one branch of inspectors who inspect people, notice there are quite a few Mexican citizens here in the US, are we to believe that the understaffed vehicle inspectors are able to do much better. The trucks do not have to meet the same safety requirements as US trucks, it's a huge difference. A US truck driver must take a break after 11 hours of driving, a Mexican domiciled vehicle can drive for 10 hours before entering the US, then another 11 in our country. Just that fact alone is enough for the public to be outraged. But theres much more safety concerns, not limited to the two examples above. Please take a look, it's mind boggling.
Even the Mexican truckers do not want this to happen, according to El Financiero:
Mexican truck drivers believe it will destroy the Mexican trucking industry.
Now the Teamsters are calling for the head of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters.
Elias Dip Rame, president of the Mexican National Truck Drivers Federation, told a reporter, "This program really hurts the trucking industry, this famous pilot plan, where the borders are opened, it really worries us." (El Financiero (Mexico City) in Spanish on December 7, 2007.)
"It is irresponsible of the Mexican Government, of Felipe Calderon, to allow the interests of a powerful 2 percent of people in the Mexican economy to hand Mexican trucking over to the Americans," Dip Rame said. (El Financiero (Mexico City) in Spanish on December 7, 2007.)
This comes at a great time as I was bitching about communication and lack of publicity yesterday in my Waldbaums Closing NY Warehouse story. I urge everyone who cares about their families and workers here in the United States, Union and otherwise, to send an E-Mail to Congress demanding action. It's really easy to do and it makes a difference. Click the link below and fill out the form, you can personalize your disgust in the body area.
Tell Congress: Stop Illegal Mexican Truck Program
Heres an interesting link about the "safe Mexican domiciled vehicles" in which 37 people were killed and 150 were injured in a trucking accident in Mexico five days before Senate temporarily blocked the pilot program. And another story about an accident, involving 2 tractor trailers and many vehicles, that *killed four Mexican nationals who were driving a pick up with Texas plates on a the border crossing bridge. If the unending influx of Illegal Aliens entering this country via Mexico is any indication of what the truck inspections will be like, we're fucked, plain and simple. *source-KGBT and CNN
From August 2007
Please post back if you get a response