tv Washington Journal Brett Murphy Discusses an Investigation Into... CSPAN August 11, 2017 9:08am-9:36am EDT
the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to section 3-b of house resolution 481, the house stands adjourned until 9:30 a.m. on tuesday, august 15, 2017. >> brett murphy joining from naples, florida. is with "u.s.a. today," you are looking into the trucking industry in california, what did you find? guest: yeah, so the port rucking industry, the guys who move containers off dock yards depots.by train
we found 15 or 16,000 guys, drivers, migrant truck who aren't employees, but owner and we found companies, maybe as many as 140 ifferent companies taking advantage of these guys, kind of a complex exploitation system. established it there, but what we found amounts to day endentured servitude, closest analogy our experts told looking at.ere they have leverage over the guys -- 14, 15, 16, 20-hours a day and sometimes don't pay them anywhere close to minimum wage. we found some who take pennies the hour. what we found is a tough, brutal working situation there and it of the standard in
california port trucking. available ur piece, at usatoday.com, you include one workers, one of these 67 cents. how this s story and particular driver reached this responsible.o is telavera, t is samuel workse took home $.67, he everyday of the week, 12, 14, 16 of the money, most goes back to the company that he works for in the form of expenses for the truck. deduct it from his check on friday, even if he can gross $1000, $2000, it goes back to diesel, to the lease payment, insurance, maintenance, if they blow a -- all the hing overhead on the truck that he's driving gets taken out of his friday.
so that is why you see some pennies on can be the hour for every hour they work that week. e found some guys who would actually owe their bosses money, they didn't break even, right? $1200, $1400 for the week, the expenses that week to more uck amounted than that, they would get egative paychecks, they pay their boss money and the debt carries over to the next week. because the company can deduct whatever they want from their weekly pay. chargingsome companies for the office toilet paper, for arking, drug tests, anything that the company needs to cover its own cost can come from the checks.s host: if you are in the trucking ndustry, a trucker yourself, 202-748-8002, we'd love to hear from you. put on the screen the place ions now in involving truck drivers and federal trucking regulations. may not work more
than 14 hours in a single day, may not drive more than 11 hours in a day without taking a 10-hour break and must take a 30-minute break from driving working for eight hours. when you talk about the companies involved, who are companies. specific part a of the supply chain, they move it gets off a ship to the supply house, within of the port miles and they are all over the country, the companies operate savannah, new york, new long , houston, seattle, beach. what they do, move that container and they are just part of the larger supply chain, but they are on contract with the huge steam ship lines that move things overseas and they are on contract with retailers, so big in the country.
your target and walmarts, home everybody from the pacific rim comes through the two port necessary l.a. and long beach. you don't know who the companies are, they are small or can get companies, fly under the radar. you don't know them, like i'm aying, they move everything that we have here. verything that we wear, drive, it all comes through these two ports. 202-748-8000 if you live in the eastern half of the country. out west, 202-748-8001. brett murphy, who are the primarily? guest: so they are almost all at 95% immigrants, they are all legal and documented, you have to be to work on the ports, they are all immigrants, speak them don't english. that was kind of a really core all of this whole thing, it
started with a regulatory tweak, in ronmental regulation 2008, it banned regulation banned old, dirty trucks, which what the guy his been driving as independent contractors, they were driving clunkers with two million mileos them, spewing into the air. california official necessary l.a. and long beach said no more here, you guys, middle class, working poor, on the line use the you can't trucks anymore. he companies were at existential point, knew the $100,000couldn't afford clean trucks the ports are mandating. to as up to the companies figure out way to keep their drivers in business and what turned to was lease to own model. it became pervasive across the with the 15 or 16,000
companies. the companies bought the trucks nd passed the expenses to the driver. with the trucks, provided by the ompany, they couldn't do that, they couldn't go price compare, go work for somebody else, they to do everything the dispatchers say, work when the dispatchers say and move the load. they can't negotiate anything. that kind of became the center thing, the fact these guys can't leave, every week they pay more into the truck, right? week and 50 to 500 a are told, you own the thing, that ruck will be yours, is why so many guys can't leave. i ask them, why didn't you leave so bad.tions were they say, i paid three year intoes this thing, four, five it.s into we found a lot of companies were anything fthey were -- if they attended a got sick, broke down
and couldn't afford repairs on the truck, the company would the truck and e keep the money they had invested into it. really was a promise for a lot of guys and some guys have nded up owning the truck, the first thing the industry will say, a lot of guys are happy because they were successful. hundreds who weren't, hundreds who lost everything, on, r house got foreclosed they went bankrupt trying to afford the truck they never qualified for. host: brett murphy, part of the investigative team at "u.s.a. naples, florida, graduate of berkeley and university of pittsburgh in his industry he trucking and truck drivers' rights, that is our topic. he story is called "rigged, forced into debt, working past exhaustion, left with nothing." jame necessary santa cruz, good morning. doing? how you i just can't believe -- i can't it, that is elieve
the way the country works, but ow come you didn't report to the nlrv? has this t murphy, been reported to officials? guest: yeah, james asked nlrv.ically about the that raises a point, these guys and the nlrv is for union disputes, guys who are employees. sort of comes center to the whole issue, is that as contractors, they are not protected under federal labor standard act, the nlrb enforcement, these guys don't have a de facto right outlets,gencies, to the they need to establish the fact they are employees. what they have been able to do take it to civil court and to the california state agency, the out there.ssion the bulk of my reporting came .rom, hundreds of guys
i am a contractor, this is how i treated, this is how they had complete control over me. just go to t really these places and say i'm an i mow third degree overtime, they don't have that stuff. modern work ke a force, it is labor law because they are independent contractors. host: tweet from jim asks the following. is there anything remotely contracts between the drivers and truck owners? mean, it is i something we've been asking, a lot of experts, what point does of like a ort criminal thing, but it is really complicated and the bar for that is really high. you have to establish that these company owners intended to of the trucks t
14 orce them to work over hours because that is a felony. or manager is forcing truck drivers or coercing or ugh economic threats anything for the guys to work day like you per were noting before, the regulati regulation, that is illegal, you can't make guys do that. drivers who came out and told us or testified at labor commission that is exactly them.was happening to they would come back from work after a 16-hour day at night and go home, a couple guys said their bosses locked the said, you haveand to go back to the dock yard, pick up another container or you the rest of the day or you will get the worst assignments. constantly under the thumb and feeling they had to work around the clock nonstop. to keep up anted with the lease payment and stay above water. we found didn't
feel they had a choice but to work the crazy hours. the line of es theyion and knows how much were working and doctoring log illegal.t becomes host: another tweet, same situation exists in the short-haul storage delivery. i know of a company forcing drivers to lease trucks from calling it the same. how widespread is this? yeah, since we've started reporting, i've gotten calls and truckers all over the found say whatting we seems to be pervasive and strongly held in the ports of but these ng beach, arrangements exist everywhere, all over the trucking industry. it's become a deregulated industry. t is difficult for patchwork regulatory systems between agencies and states to enforce abor laws you normally expect
in work places, what i keep hearing from people all over the country, lease to own programs common, it is a common way trucking companies to avoid a costs, a lot of the asset costs that normally down, workers' compensation, they save millions by not paying it. told me, i guys have was caught in one of these lease i don't know anyone who ever made it through, they tell me. they say, even though it seems be standard of the ports, you should be looking at other places, as well, it seems to be problem throughout the industry. i just don't know if it is l.a. ned as in ports at and long beach. host: a truck driver from flint, morning., good caller: hello, good morning. yep. -- ve witnessed this host: morning. caller: good morning. 've witnessed this at michigan works program, where it was like
unknown carriers came in and supplying who was for it. they promised a driving gig in a truck. michigan hrough the works program. they were taking vulnerable men on. host: thanks for the call. guest: similar sounding l.a. and long beach. it's guys who had been working they didn't years, really know anything else a lot of the time, they did it in countrys and had been truck drivers for a long time. it.ot of them love doing they love driving trucks. when the environmental regulations hit around 2008, was saying, suddenly overnight, they couldn't do it anymore. were desperate for work.
that made them easy targets in a lot of ways. walked into work, they said, hey, your truck, your rig docks anymore, it is okay, we have one out back, just sign here and then get you back up and on the road, we have a truck, five will ownven years, you the thing and in the meantime, make great money. sounds great. they drive a truck, go home, work hard, one day own the thing the road for n themselves. sounded great. buried s, though, were in legal and in english often, translated. guys asked to bring them home, a ot of companies didn't allow them to bring them home. they didn't know what they were getting into. they months or years in, were in too deep, paid too much into the thing to simply walk promise they would one day own this truck. that is why they kept into it like the last caller was
saying, it seems to be that populations, guys who don't speak english well are targetss. host: matthew, good morning, truck driver from georgia, you air.on the caller: yes. this is subculture of bigger culture of the trucking industry. big scam, big companies, from the ubsidies government. should -- your reporter know what a trig cart is, they give us problem to get the trig go through a ba fingerprints, k, each company does a different thing, a company does a company does a backgrund check. et me say this, is modern day slavery. what he said about truck drivers getting a truck and firing them truck, that own the is happening in the entire industry, not only at the ports. get a truck, they fund it
it, ou, before you pay for something happens, either that or they put you into a new truck by that time the truck is having problems. i can go on and on and on f. drivers could get on this morning and call you, you would hear a lot of stories. host: thank you. want to hear from truck drivers, as well. we appreciate your perspective. brett murphy? guest: yeah, i mean, what what i was saying is kept hearing from guy after guy long here in l.a. and beach. they said, this is what i was into, this is what i was promised. this is the daily hoops i jump to make ends meet and it was for nought. lost everything, they lost homes, were facing bankruptcy, the company told them one thing and they found out different reality. say the company's point
of view is that we were helping these guys keep a job, they were facing losing their job, we kept them employed, by us staying ark did they, a lot of guys are happy, a lot of guys made it through the lease and own the truck now and they think there is a large just less who are diligent or less savvy businessmen that maybe shouldn't via to begin he with. hey think those are outliers, and you should look to the people who are happy. the reality for hundreds, it case, it wasn't possible for them, these factors port congestion and traffic in los angeles, if you have ever their ere, it is out of control. they are paid per container, not hourly or by the mile, by how containers they can turn on a day and weekly basis. they don't turn enough containers or work gets slow or in a long shore men are
contract negotiation or if, you deficit, e is a trade anything going on outside of their control can ruin their week that, can put them in the red and everything could be over at the drop of a hat. that was the really big omplaint, big, large picture problem with the whole thing. they don't control how well they might do. that, panies try to say the harder working or smarter businessmen can make it, a lot think that was't reality. host: talking with brett murphy from naples day" florida. looking into the trucking ndustry, one aspect of the trucking industry, your piece points out many products being costco and other companies. did you question them with egard to the drivers and their rigs? follow-up h, we had a
story on that alone, the role of retail, of importers, people who receiving the goods inside of the containers. e want to know hey, have you guys been monitoring, policing this part of your supply chain? found out, here is what you might have known about already, here is new stuff, what do you been this? what are you going to do about it? this sort of thing. a lot of them, it was news, they hadn't heard about this, didn't know about it. say, we tonight hire those trucking companies out right, we ire a third party or shipping line and they hire trucking companies, we don't have there, it can't be our responsibility, it is too removed. they e codes of conduct, point to me about their social responsibility, code of conduct for the supply chain. they say they enforce overseas, right, at the anufacturing plants, at their warehouses overseas, but then when it comes to goods moving ere, the services industry,
like trucking stateside is not on their radar. don't have a lot of systems in place to be stepping in and monitoring, to whatting is going on there. but maybe that has changed now, reported, it was news to a lot of outfits i was talking to. >> announcer: ned from virginia, good morning. caller: good morning, i have no thank you. host: thank you. how did you come about this did yourett murphy, how find out about it? about two h, it was years ago, i think. the long shore men were in a negotiation, if you remember the west coast ports ere at a standstill, weren't quite striking, it was a slow down, things weren't coming in at sea ships lining up and nobody could import or export their stuff. reporting in oakland in l.a. and long beach how that was affecting businesses, people rely on imports and exports.
one story i was looking at, how truckers, cting the the trucks were lining up all downtown for miles, the trucks weren't moving for day, five, six hours per i was walking and talking to a lot of guys and they were me, at the end of this week, i will owe my boss money. i'm not making money, i will to pay my boss $40 or $60. what do you mean? don't own the truck yet, i'm just paying for it, my boss owns t, hopefully i will own it one day, this week i'm not bringing home money for my family, i will groceries, i o buy kept hearing that over the course of a few days. i was wondering how prevalent was and that got me digging into the state labor commission nd the civil court, that is when we found just how pervasive the business model was and how affecting.it was host: just to be clear, is there a role of the federal government, either labor
relations or y unions involved n balance ave checks and to hours they work, payments they make and who might be the reporting you have uncovered? uest: yeah, so the federal government doesn't have too much here.ty to step in that is precedent that was set kind of ago when it was tweak to the motor carrier act and it said states and local and y consist step in regulate the business of anybody involved in interstate commerce. trucking tell a company whose goods are destined for the country how to run their you can't tell them to use employees or independent contractors, that is up to them. part of carryover from agenciesion, that made handcuffed here, but what we ave been seeing is since we started reporting, some senators have stepped in, senator brown,
feinstein, harris, senator massachusetts, wrote letters, trying to pressure now etailers who really control a lot of this importers and large shipping companies, kind of set they are the ones who have a lot of leverage on the port trucking industry, bottom of the he supply chain. so a lot of federal players lean on that part of it because not a ton in the way of legislation they can do. talked about resurrecting a federal bill, the lean ports act that would give states, local agencies power to tep in and regulate the industries and actually apply the labor law. it is completely patchwork f. a improve his station or complain about his company breaking the law, he has to go basis to that state agency and try to make the case he's an employee. been successful in almost 100% of the times they to do that, civil
court said, you are an employee. time, happens one at a no sweeping legislation that happened. they tried in the state several washington, a bit, but they faced fierce law being pposition from the retail industries, shipping industries, people who don't want an hold all odel to take over the port trucking industry, that used to be a union a teamster run out fit there. used to be more teamsters all over the country and the union a strong role out there in california in getting the guys into civil court, labor them into the commission because of course they want more employees who could possibly be members. played active role, picket at a lot of companies, they are much attention to be brought on the port trucking companies as they can. murphy, the piece is called "rigged," available
online at "u.s.a. today," looking at the trucking industry in california, joining us from naples, florida. thank you for your time. guest: thank you. ost: we want to open our phone lines on this friday morning and tell us your news story of the week. now.n dialing here are numbers. republicans. for 202-748-8000, if you're a democrat. 202-748-8002.ts, you are watching and listening "washington journal." it is august 11th, we're back in a moment. >> every week of the clinton white house, there was something a very tense environment. and then we had a special prosecutor, i don't know remember ken star. he was like the boogie man back then. like, a request for this. that white time in house responding to requests
else.oing anything boy, i remember those requests and going through every document to find that thing that week.arr wanted that , i get to do now my job. > watch our interview with omarosa manigaults, on c-span, radio and c-span.org. , on c-span, c-span radio and c-span.org. g, on c-span, c-span radio and c-span.org. a, on c-span, c-span radio and c-span.org. u, on c-span, c-span radio and c-span.org. lt, on c-span, c-span radio and c-span.org. >> "washington journal" continues. open. our phone lines are send us a tweet at c-spanwj. the president early this morning tweet.his "military solutions are now ully in place, locked and loaded should north korea act unwisely, hopefully kim jong-un find another path." morgan from