To whom it concerns:
We write on behalf of our client, Ezlogz, Inc., a logistics and compliance support company for truckers and small business owners in the trucking industry, to report a systematic practice by industry brokers to circumvent the disclosure requirements set forth in 49 C.F.R. § 371.3(c) (hereafter, the “Disclosure Rule”). The brokers work with retailers to obtain loads and then broker those loads to independent operator truckers or to small trucking companies, among other carriers. Under the regulations set forth Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Department of Transportation, brokers are required to both maintain records – including the amount of compensation the brokers receive from brokering the load transaction – and share such information with all parties to the load transaction.
In reality, brokers have banded together to conceal from drivers the compensation cut the brokers are taking in brokering the loads. The result on the operators (many of whom barely make enough money to support their families) is wage suppression for the drivers. By refusing to comply with the disclosure requirements, brokers are not compelled to compete over price – the fees they take. The brokers have, in effect, formed a cartel and have – as an industry – colluded to conceal broker fees from drivers and trucking business owners in violation of the regulations.
Brokers accomplish this in a few ways. First, the industry has, at part of its standard contract, a “Broker’s Records” section that requires the carrier to waive the its rights to obtaining records pursuant to the Disclosure Rule. It is an industry-wide practice, so carriers have no choice but to sign. Second, where small businesses or independent owner-operators are concerned, brokers target non-English speaking drivers and others who are not aware of the Disclosure Rule or will not contest the broker’s refusal to share the required information. Those truckers who do request information under the Disclosure Rule are systematically blacklisted by the industry.
We are asking that the Department of Justice investigate the industry to confirm the widespread use of the required waiver language (which, incidentally, begs the question of whether such waivers are legally enforceable) and the targeting practices employed with owner-operators. Simple subpoenas to various brokers, including, for example, TQL, CH Robinson, Coyote Logistics, JB Hunt, Trinity Logistics, and Schneider could be a start. In addition, persons who have left the broker industry will almost certainly confirm that they work together to ensure that commission rate data required under the Disclosure Rule is never provided. Finally, drivers and business owners (and we can connect you with several) will confirm that there is no ability to ever negotiate the waiver of the Disclosure Rule that brokers uniformly require.
Please consider initiating this investigation as soon as possible. The industry has been ravaged by COVID-19, and the brokers anti-competitive practices only exacerbate the difficulties that drivers and small business owners in the trucking industry is facing.
We look forward to receiving your response.
DLA Piper LLP (US)
Dear President Trump,
We are the small business owner-operators in the trucking industry. We are the dedicated and hard-working men and women who hail from all fifty states in the union. We take pride in our important role in keeping America great. Trucking companies with 25 trucks or less haul the majority of the freight in the nation. We are the lifeblood that makes our economy the envy of the word. However, despite what we have achieved during this time of national emergency, we are in trouble, and it is our responsibility to make you aware of it. Mr. President, we seek your help in making sure that together we make trucking great again.
On May 1st, 2020, over 100 trucks and more than 30 operators in personal vehicles descended on our nation’s capital. Trucks parked on the tree-lined lanes of Constitutional Avenue and blared their horns respectfully in a mayday call to you. Mr. President, we are in distress, and we need your help now. We are here in representation of all of our brothers and sisters who could not accompany us into the capital because they are making sure that the supply chain isn’t broken. We have coordinated and united men and women from all creeds and backgrounds with the intent on making you and the American people aware of the crisis we face in the trucking industry today. We seek relief for all owner-operators, small business, and the American trucker who is currently struggling to remain afloat even while trying to keep our economy from total collapse.
While there are many issues such as rates, and safety, we have put together just a few that require immediate attention.
These are the issues that need to be addressed:
- No double and/or co-brokerage-Prohibit brokers from selling the same load more than once.
- Transparency-Mirror government policy on freight. All information, including financial details, must be available to parties involved before the load is booked. Set up packages that include a clause to waive rights to review the record of transaction, hence violating federal regulation 49 CFR 371.3.
- Cap brokers –Brokers shall be capped at a certain percentage from the gross.
We are ready to provide the needed data and details to move this process and policies forward to both yourself and also forwarding to DOJ. The 1989 Quantum agreement between J.B. hunt and Santa Fe railway needs to be reviewed. The set-up packages from brokers that includes verbiage that waives the rights to review record of transaction needs to be forbidden. The attached document shows the cost vs the current rates offered. This movement is to improve the trucking industry and to help the truckers. We appreciate your time, Mr. President.
Dear Mr. President,
I am writing this message on behalf of truck drivers that united in requesting for assistance that is direly needed. There is a pandemic in the trucking industry in America right now. My name is CJ Sergey Karman, and I started in the industry in 2009 as a truck driver and became a broker in 2011. Now, as founder/CEO of my own Fleet management software company, I am here to stand up for truck drivers that are being taken advantage of by some brokers. We need immediate relief, as the truck drivers are the backbone of this country. All other areas of the trucking industry are currently regulated, and it is time to make changes before it is too late.
On May 1st, 2020, over 70 small-business trucking companies lined their trucks along Constitutional avenue and blared their horns as a Mayday call to you, Mr. President, we need help now! Rick Santiago organized this movement to give hope to the struggling drivers that are currently being robbed of fair opportunities in the industry. Everyone involved has been standing with these truck drivers in Washington D.C., to move this agenda forward, and get this letter into your hands. While there are many issues such as rates, and safety, we have put together just a few for focus.
Below listed are issues that need to be addressed:
- No double and/or co-brokerage. Prohibit brokers from selling the same load more than once.
- Transparency – Mirror government load policy, so all parties dealing with the load are listed. The amount every party is charging shall be on the Bill of Landing and announced before each load is booked.
- Cap brokers –Brokers shall be capped at a certain percentage from the gross.
We are ready to provide the needed data and details to move this process and policies forward to both yourself and forwarding to DOJ. This movement is to better the trucking industry and to help the truckers. We appreciate your time, Mr. President.