Monday, January 10, 2011
The Obama administration's proposal to a Bush-era policy, and allow Mexican long-haul trucks to operate in the U.S. is drawing the ire of labor unions on this side of the border.
SAN DIEGO Two years after Congress canceled the Bush Administration's Mexican truck cross-border program, the Department of Transportation has announced that it will reinstate it.
This means a limited, but growing number of Mexican trucks will have access to the U.S. market, in competition with American cargo truckers.
To the San Diego chapter of the AFL-CIO, the move was never a good idea -- not even when it started under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
"Mexican trucks simply don't have the same standards that U.S. trucks have," said Lorena Gonzalez, the labor organization's CEO. "Mexican trucks don't have, for example, anti-lock breaks. The medical standards for their drivers and physical state of the trucks are far, far below that which we require here in the United States."
But above all, Gonzalez said she's concerned about the impact the trucking policy will have on thousands of American jobs.
"We've been able to rebound some of our trucking jobs in the United States because those trucks weren't taking what would normally be U.S. cargo," said Gonzalez, referring to the last few years when there has been a ban on Mexican trucks. "So this affects not only jobs in obviously, California, but in Arizona and Texas as well."
In 2006, a the height of the trucking permit, almost 10 million Mexican trucks crossed through the California and Texas border, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.