OOIDA Applauds Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Reverse 1938 Law Denying Truckers Overtime Pay

December 2023

WASHINGTON, DC… The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has announced its strong support for the bipartisan Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers Act (GOT Truckers Act), legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) and U.S. Representative Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ) to ensure truckers receive overtime pay just like nearly every other segment of the American workforce.

“America’s truckers keep our nation’s economy moving, and without the hard work of these men and women, our supply chain would grind to a halt,” said OOIDA President Todd Spencer. “Unbelievably, trucking is one of the only professions in America that is denied guaranteed overtime pay. We are way past due as a nation in valuing the sacrifices that truckers make every single day. This starts with simply paying truckers for all of the time they work. With this discount on a trucker’s time, ‘big trucking’ has led a race to the bottom for wages that treats truckers as expendable components rather than the professionals they are. We thank Senator Padilla and Representative Van Drew for fighting to right this wrong by guaranteeing overtime pay for truckers through the GOT Truckers Act. This legislation is an investment in truckers, road safety, and America.” 

“America’s truck drivers are on the frontlines of our economy, enduring long hours away from home, and all too often, unpaid wait time at congested ports and warehouses. That’s because for decades, truck drivers have been excluded from overtime pay protections,” said Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA). “If truckers are forced to wait while on the job, they should be paid. This is not just a matter of fairness; it’s a matter of public safety. Experienced truckers are safer truckers, and better compensation will help more of them stay in the profession. It’s time we guarantee overtime for truckers.”

“Truckers are the backbone of our nation’s economy and an essential component of our supply chain. Without truck drivers, our country would be at a standstill,” said Jeff Representative Van Drew (R-NJ). “I am proud to join my colleagues in supporting the Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers Act to ensure these hardworking men and women are compensated fairly.”

 “Truckers have been left out of overtime opportunities due to archaic standards,” said Representative Mark Takano (D-CA). “The impact of truckers on the supply chain to get Americans the goods they rely on entitles these workers to competitive wages. In an industry plagued with high turnover, the most common-sense solution is to guarantee overtime pay to drivers.”

Truckers are the backbone of America’s supply chain, frequently working over 70 hours per week keeping grocery shelves stocked and critical medical supplies moving across our nation’s highways. Unbelievably, outdated federal law from 1938 denies truckers guaranteed overtime pay for all these hours they work.

To put truck drivers on the same playing field as nearly every other worker in America, Senator Padilla introduced the GOT Truckers Act to ensure that truckers are finally paid the overtime wages they’ve worked for. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has long advocated for this change, and applauds Senator Padilla (D-CA) and Representative Van Drew (R-NJ) for standing up for America’s hard-working professional drivers.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which sets federal policies on minimum wage and other labor protections, currently exempts truckers from its general requirement to pay employees time-and-a-half after 40 hours in a workweek. While this exemption was originally designed to prevent truckers from working too many hours, it now actually prevents truckers from being fairly compensated for all the hours they work.

The U.S. Department of Transportation also recognizes the importance of repealing this exemption which it recommended in its recent Supply Chain Assessment of the Transportation Industrial Base as a way to improve supply chain performance.

Highway safety advocates have endorsed the legislation, recognizing the connection between overtime pay and retaining safe, experienced drivers.

"Repealing the overtime exemption for truck drivers is not just an economic issue, but also a safety issue. Experienced drivers are essential to keeping our roads safe, but too many are leaving the industry because they are overworked and underpaid,” said Harry Adler, principal at the Institute for Safer Trucking. “The GOT Truckers Act would help to retain experienced truck drivers by providing them with the overtime pay they deserve. This would not only improve their quality of life, but also make our roads safer for everyone.”

  “The FLSA Motor Carrier Exemption needlessly puts the lives of truck drivers and all roadway users at grave risk,” said Tami Friedrich, Truck Safety Coalition President. “The notion that it is acceptable for innocent people to die to avoid paying truck drivers for all their time is un-American. I am grateful to my home state Senator, Senator Padilla for taking action to eliminate this lethal loophole. The GOT Truckers Act will undoubtedly save lives and improve roadway safety for all.”

 In addition to Senator Padilla, the legislation is cosponsored by Senator and Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), as well as Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT.), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA.), and Ron Wyden (D-OR.). The House version of the legislation introduced by Representative Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ) is cosponsored by Representative Mark Takano (D-CA).

 The Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers Act is supported by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the Truck Safety Coalition, and the Institute for Safer Trucking.