Washington, D.C. – The Teamsters union has sued to block the U.S. Department of Transportation from opening the U.S. border to Mexican trucks in a pilot program.
The union said that the program is “illegal” and that the trucks are dangerous and polluting.
The suit claims that the program is illegal because it waives a law that trucks must display proof that they meet federal safety standards; that Mexican drivers do not have to meet the same physical requirements as U.S. drivers; it does not comply with the environmental requirement of the National Environment Policy Act; and that the pilot program must include enough participants to be statistically valid, which would justify letting any Mexican truck over the border in future.
The union also said that the program breaks a law that Mexico must provide simultaneous and comparable access to U.S. trucks, which it cannot due because of the limited availability of ultra-low-sulphur diesel fuel in that country.
“Congress has repeatedly and overwhelmingly set tough safety conditions for any cross-border trucking program, and this one clearly doesn’t meet those conditions,” said Jim Hoffa, general president of the union.
The pilot program initially approved trucking operator Grupo Behr of Tijuana but later disqualified it when the Teamsters and others complained about the company, which owned one 20-year-old semi-tractor trailer with numerous safety issues. A second carrier, Transportes Olympic of Monterrey, Mexico started operating in the U.S. last month, but the union said safety concerns have also been raised about the company.