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…

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


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.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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