Content By: The Coming Depression Editorial Staff (dates cited below)
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trucker sleeping

“This is hitting us hard,” said Nelson Romero, president of the National Port Drivers Assn., a group that says it has more than 1,000 members and is seeking to extend the Jan. 1 deadline. “It’s not fair that everything falls on us.”

Doomsday looming for many truckers at Los Angeles and Long Beach ports

Clean-air guidelines banning older rigs and those without diesel particulate filters take effect Jan. 1. Many drivers says the changes are just too costly.

By Patrick J. McDonnell November 27, 2009

Filiberto Cervantes has already separated from his wife and kids, lost his car, moved into his truck and says he subsists largely on a diet of $1 cheese burritos. But Jan. 1 looms like a date with the grim reaper himself.

“The first of the year will probably be the end of my family,” said Cervantes, showing a visitor his big-rig cab turned dwelling, now parked in a fast-food lot in Long Beach. “I don’t know what’s next.”

Cervantes is among thousands of truckers servicing the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex who are facing a day of reckoning this New Year’s. That’s because Jan. 1 is the day new clean-air guidelines go into effect at the ports, banning all pre-1994 trucks — as well as 1994-2003 rigs that have not been retrofitted with costly diesel particulate filters.

The bans are part of the much-acclaimed “clean trucks” initiative that authorities say has already cut toxic emissions about 70% since its introduction in October 2008 at the nation’s busiest harbor complex. Parallel state clean-air regulations also go into effect Jan. 1.

Many laud the move toward greener technology in the so-called diesel alley corridor of south L.A. County, where port pollution has been blamed for elevated cancer rates, widespread asthma and other health ailments. Ports nationwide are considering similar bans.

While no one knows for sure, some estimate that the ban will deny more than 5,000 truckers access to their principal source of employment. Many, like Cervantes, are already reeling from the effects of the recession, living paycheck to paycheck.

About 20,000 truckers are registered to work at the port complex, officials say, but regular users amount to about half that number.

Those affected are mostly working-class immigrants from Mexico and Central America who were able to make a living in what was long a largely unregulated, and freely polluting, industry. But clean-air concerns have changed all that.

“This is hitting us hard,” said Nelson Romero, president of the National Port Drivers Assn., a group that says it has more than 1,000 members and is seeking to extend the Jan. 1 deadline. “It’s not fair that everything falls on us.”

You can read more at LA TIMES

NAFTA and the American worker
From staff reports Updated: 11/25/2009 09:55:47 PM PST

By John Ross

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) included a provision for long-haul truckers from Mexico to operate inside the United States. Recently, the new administration decided not to allow it. I am relieved by the decision. NAFTA has made a great deal of money for corporations in this country by enabling them to use cheap labor in other countries.

The reason labor is cheaper in other countries is because they don’t pay their workers a living wage, they don’t provide workers and their families with health care or provide worker retirement plans or provide a safe place to work or provide the expensive environmental controls for manufacturing processes that we do.

The lack of ethics needed to outsource to countries that provide none of that is not addressed often by the media and certainly not by big business. All we get is self-serving rhetoric about innovation creating new jobs for Americans, but it isn’t happening, is it?

The idea that truckers from Mexico could actually come into our own country and take work away from us by not providing the training, medical qualifications, equipment safety for the drivers or the American public, environmental controls and good wages is frightening. The boundaries of our nation protect our way of life and they are dissolving. Protectionism is routinely described as ugly but isn’t the alternative reducing the American middle class to the status of the Third World?

You can read more at Record Bee

This entry was posted on Friday, November 27th, 2009 at 2:26 pm and is filed under All Posts, Deindustrialization. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

1 Comment

  1. November 28, 2009 @ 10:19 pm

    I have zero sympathy for these truckers. Go back home gentleman.

    Let’s see we have 12 million illegals in the country and about 15 million Americans out of work. Hmmm. Giving them amnesty helps who?

    Well the Repubs want cheap labor and the Dems want voters. Both are a sickening lot.

    Posted by Annie Oakley

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