by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
[Driver Cyrus] Tharpe believes presidents can “make big things happen” and hopes President Biden will force unionization on trucking companies seeking federal contracts. He is convinced that union pay checks and safety standards are the keys to more drivers joining the trucking ranks, a properly functioning supply chain, and the path out of his malaise. Sweeping government intervention is the panacea the country needs, Tharpe says.
I too am a truck driver, but my experience has been quite the opposite of Tharpe’s. In fact, I have found that the problem with trucking is not the pay nor the trucking companies nor even the inherent danger of the work. It is the government artificially inserting itself into the industry and my life.
I started driving in 2012. I live well above my state’s median income in a middle-class neighborhood where my mortgage is about an eighth of my income. In my 10 years of experience, my pay has more than doubled. The only “big thing” I’ve seen the government do is price me out of the health insurance market with empty promises and frustrate my days with growing regulations that outstrip the length of the Bible.
The last thing I want is more regulations heaped upon my narrow shoulders by some union adding their list of rules to an already over-regulated industry. In fact, if you wanted me to quit driving trucks, about the best way to accomplish that would be to petition the president to force my company to unionize the drivers.
The simple fact of the matter is: truck drivers are “unions” in and of themselves. I don’t have to “collectively bargain” for a higher wage. If a company is unable or unwilling to pay me what the market demands, there are dozens of companies out there clamoring for my services that can and will pay me what I’m worth.