A test program being launched by the Bush Administration to allow what could be thousands of Mexican trucks and their drivers unrestricted access to U.S. highways will be a “disaster,” according to the chief of the Teamsters.
James Hoffa, whose union is working in court to halt the scheduled launch of the trucking test program this weekend, told G. Gordon Liddy on his radio talk show that the Mexican trucks and drivers will endanger U.S. lives, damage U.S. jobs, pollute the U.S. environment and benefit no one but big business.
“They want to make it so there’s no regulation. You get in your truck in Monterey, Mexico, and drive to Montreal. You’d have to be on speed to do it,” Hoffa said.
He said corporate interests have decided, “We’re going to run ’em to death so we can make more money.”
“That’s that this is about,” he told Liddy.
WND began reporting on the plan months ago, and has documented the growing opposition to the plan, which many blame on the 2005 Security and Prosperity Partnership signed by President Bush and the leaders of Mexico and Canada.
Supporters say that plan is a way to smooth the regulations so business flows more easily between the nations of North America, opponents consider it another step in a not-so-veiled attempt to set up a merger of the three nations.
Hoffa said right now the unregulated and often-unmonitored trucks from Mexico are contained to a zone along the border where they are allowed to be. The test plan set up by the government would erase that limit.
“All we’re asking is that Mexican trucks and truckers meet the same standards as American trucks and drivers,” Hoffa said. He cited the requirements in the United States for commercial drivers’ licenses, drug screening, physical evaluations, hazmat certifications, etc.
“It’s a whole process to make sure he’s a safe driver,” he said. But in Mexico, there are no databases of drivers with a history of recklessness and arrest, or even drug testing facilities, he said.
“And can you believe they’re doing this on Labor Day?” he said, calling it a slap in the face to American workers.
Also significant is the concern over national security, he said. There isn’t any way to adequately monitor the individual vehicles that will be representing the 100 Mexican trucking corporations expected to be involved in the program, he said.
“This is kind of a conspiracy of big business,” Hoffa warned, to create a scenario where there are no minimum wage limits and no requirements for safety.
“They basically want to erase all the borders. This is big business that wants to be able to run stuff out of Mexico, which is much cheaper, into Canada and into the United States,” he said. “All of this is being greased right now by big business.”
Joining the Teamsters in the legal challenge to the program were the Sierra Club and Public Citizen.