“We were denied access to basic human rights,” Jess Graham, owner of GTO Trucking, said. She said the pandemic shutdowns meant truckers lost access to bathrooms, showers and other facilities they need to do their jobs.
The price of gas has also impacted truckers, as well as regulations. Trucker Justin Singh said when it comes to what he’s looking for in a candidate, he wants people who advocate for drivers to get paid for the long hours they work and will cut the red tape around regulations.
“The carrier’s the last person, the driver’s the last person, really, to get paid, so we can’t keep up with it,” Singh said about inflation.
Graham noted that most truckers don’t get paid for tasks like loading and unloading, only the actual driving.
The trucking industry faces high turnover rates, and drivers are being hit hard by inflation and high gas prices. Drivers also struggle with day-to-day challenges, like finding places to sleep. Efforts to ease the shortage of truck drivers include programs to attract younger people to the job and proposals to increase pay.
Some truck drivers do support increased regulation, particularly when it comes to rules around safety and training.
“Focus on making it accessible for us to work and live safe and healthy lives,” Graham said.
Watch the full interview in the player above.