Big Win for MVS
Subcontractor’s Application for Safety Exemption Denied
Hundreds Who Spoke Out Made the Difference
03/17/2016 - The APWU won an important victory on March 15 – one that will save lives and help protect the jobs of Postal Service drivers.
After hearing outcries from APWU members and allies, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) denied a request from a private subcontractor seeking exemption from a federal safety rule. The request by the National Star Route Mail Contractors Association (NSRMCA) would have permitted private commercial drivers that haul mail for the U.S. Postal Service to operate trucks after more than 14 hours on duty following a break of less than 10-hours.
NSRMCA represents approximately 17,000 small companies that transport mail for the Postal Service in trucks of various sizes. Many of them are so small that drivers are exempt from the drug and alcohol tests that Postal Service drivers are required to take, adding to the danger.
When the request came to the APWU’s attention late last summer, the union urged postal workers and others concerned with highway safety to oppose the request. Hundreds responded. According to the FMCSA, "The Agency received 562 comments, 542 of which opposed the exemption request. The commenters objected to the extension of the duty day, which they said would lead to more fatigued drivers and, potentially, an increase in CMV [Commercial Motor Vehicle] crashes. Several commenters saw this request as a cost-cutting measure which would enable NSRMCA members to reduce the number of CMV drivers they employed while performing the same level of mail delivery service. Others noted that FMCSA had denied an identical request for the same exemption filed by the USPS (74 FR 23467, May 19, 2009). USPS had failed to demonstrate that the exemption would maintain a level of safety equal to, or greater than, the level of safety established by the current HOS rules.
"Only 10 comments supported the exemption request, and two of them were filed by the original petitioner, NSRMCA," the agency noted.
“This is a significant victory for the safety of the public and postal drivers," said Motor Vehicle Service Craft Director Michael O. Foster. "The ruling will undoubtedly save lives. Hopefully this should finally convince management of the value of postal drivers, and slow their endless pursuit of privatization and subcontracting. I would like to thank all of our members and the Grand Alliance for answering our call and making the many comments on the FMCSA website."