The Who’s Better Off Game:Truck Transport Workers

They are American icons — truckers in big rigs criss-crossing the nation, delivering more freight than any other form of transportation. Still, being an icon matters little when jobs are disappearing and wages are stuck in neutral. Truck transportation employees, including big rig drivers, have been among the hardest-hit of any single group over the past four years…

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


In June, Teamsters President James Hoffa quit a White House trade panel in protest of President Bush’s decision to sign a Central American trade agreement Hoffa said would weaken protections for workers. But Hoffa has other, more immediate reasons to resent Bush’s leadership.

Since 2000, more than 68,000 heavy truck driver jobs have been lost. What’s more, real wages for big rig drivers are slipping. In mid 2003, truck drivers were actually earning about 3 percent less in real income than they were in mid 2000. Even in states where big rig drivers can find work, wages are falling behind the cost of living.

In California, for instance, where truck transport companies added more than 7,500 big rig driver jobs between 2000 and 2003, inflation-adjusted wages actually dropped by about .7 percent. And in Florida, where more than 4,500 driver jobs were added in the same period, real wages fell by nearly 4 percent.

And big rig drivers aren’t the only truck transport workers doing less well today than in 2000. Laborers, including the workers who load and unload freight, have been hit terribly hard. Nationwide, jobs for truck transport laborers disappeared at an astonishing rate of 40 percent between 2000 and 2003, and they aren’t coming back.

WE'RE TAKING A SHORT BREAK…

from the big banner at the top of our pages asking for the donations that make Mother Jones' nonprofit journalism possible. But we still have upwards of $300,000 to raise by June 30, whether we get there is going to come down to the wire, and we can't afford to come up short.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please join your fellow readers who pitch in from time to time to keep our democracy-advancing, justice-seeking journalism charging hard (and to help us avoid a real budget crunch as June 30 approaches and our fiscal year ends).

payment methods

WE'RE TAKING A SHORT BREAK…

from the big banner at the top of our pages asking for the donations that make Mother Jones' nonprofit journalism possible. But we still have upwards of $300,000 to raise by June 30, whether we get there is going to come down to the wire, and we can't afford to come up short.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please join your fellow readers who pitch in from time to time to keep our democracy-advancing, justice-seeking journalism charging hard (and to help us avoid a real budget crunch as June 30 approaches and our fiscal year ends).

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate