Trucking.Ready or not, Mexican trucks are coming to the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. . NAFTA NAFTA
in full North American Free Trade Agreement
Trade pact signed by Canada, the U.S., and Mexico in 1992, which took effect in 1994. Inspired by the success of the European Community in reducing trade barriers among its members, NAFTA created the world's mandated that the roads of all three signatory nations be open to trucks from all three countries, but safety concerns have kept Mexican trucks confined to a narrow corridor along the border. Now a "pilot program" of the
Department of Transportation would give Mexican drivers from 100 approved Mexican trucking companies access to the entire country.
It's a move that is supposed to be good for business, but it is really part of the plan to increase the tonnage of shipping handled by Mexican ports and to move that freight through Mexico into the United States by means of NAFTA corridors--the so-called NAFTA Superhighway (see page 19). Like everything else related to NAFTA, opening the borders to Mexican trucks will have consequences for American workers, putting U.S. truckers out of business--while making American roads more dangerous.
The pilot plan "is a big push by American and Mexican big business to use cheap labor," said Jim Hoffa, president of the Teamsters Union Teamsters Union, U.S. labor union formed in 1903 by the amalgamation of the Team Drivers International Union and the Teamsters National Union. Its full name is the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen, and Helpers of America (IBT). . The wage disparity between Mexican drivers and their U.S. counterparts is substantial. According to Fleetowner magazine, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA OOIDA Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association ), for instance, "contends that competition from Mexican carriers will eventually overwhelm U.S. fleets because Mexican drivers are paid 25% to 50% less than most domestic drivers."
The Teamsters Teamsters
large, powerful union of U. S. truckers. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 2703]
See : Labor found out how poorly Mexican drivers are paid when they sent investigative reporter Charles Bowden to Mexico to report on the condition of the Mexican trucking industry last August. Bowden talked to drivers who worked for days on end, sometimes driving for 48 hours without a break. "The men earn about $1,100 a month," Bowden reported. And the pay is for a workload that can be handled only with assistance from narcotics narcotics n. 1) techinically, drugs which dull the senses. 2) a popular generic term for drugs which cannot be legally possessed, sold, or transported except for medicinal uses for which a physician or dentist's prescription is required. .
The Mexican drivers Bowden talked to insisted that they can only stay awake on their long and frequent journeys across Mexico by using what they euphemistically term "magic dust." According to Bowden, the truckers "are all family men who run the highways at least 25 days a month and they are adamant about two things--that nobody can run these long hauls without cocaine and crystal meth meth
Methamphetamine hydrochloride. , and now and then some marijuana to level out the rush."