Scores of truck drivers and others from the trucking industry continued their series of driving and honking demonstrations Friday in front of the White House, Capitol Hill and the Justice Department, appealing to President Trump and his administration to require more openness on shipping fees taken by brokers.
Truck drivers and their supporters are “protesting price gouging by brokers. We’re fighting for transparency,” said Sergey Karman, a fleet management provider and one of the organizers of the demonstrations, which have stretched through much of the month. “Something needs to be done. This is the last battle for some of these guys out here.”
The trucking industry has been hit hard by demand during the outbreak, as consumers flock to e-commerce while they avoid shopping in public spaces.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows spoke to some of the demonstrators in recent days, and he said he would look into the concerns they outlined in a letter to the Justice Department, Karman said. “We’re still waiting. We’re supporting the White House” and the president, Karman said, but added “some of these guys have no fuel, no nothing.”
One demonstrator, Janet Sanchez, with the group the Disrespected Trucker, streamed some of the remarks and truckers holding signs including “Regulate Brokers” and “Make Trucking Great Again. No Cheap Freight.”
With horns echoing, Trump said from the White House on Friday: “Those are truckers that are with us all the way. They’re protesting in favor of President Trump.”
“Things are getting twisted. We’re not here to support Trump. We’re here for him to support us,” Sanchez said. “We’re supporting if he supports us.”
A key issue is whether the Trump administration’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is allowing shipping brokers to evade regulations requiring them to share information on how much the brokers earn per load, according to a letter Karman’s attorney submitted to the Justice Department on behalf of his logistics firm, Ezlogz.
Instead of releasing that financial information, “brokers have banded together to conceal from drivers the compensation cut the brokers are taking in brokering the loads. The result on the operators (many of whom barely make enough money to support their families) is wage suppression for the drivers,” according to the letter.
The FMCSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday. Earlier in the week, spokesman Kyle Bonini said the agency had not “received any notice that any Agency regulations have been violated.” He said the agency “supports America’s truck drivers” and is pursuing policies to help them, including changing rules on how they have to take required breaks and manage the hours they work.