The story on the move to allow 18-year-olds to get licenses to drive big-rig trucks gives the game away when it says, “The driver shortage could be eliminated by raising truckers’ wages and improving working conditions” [“18-year-olds as truckers drives up safety fears,” Page One, July 11].
There are likely millions of men and women out there who would love to drive trucks if they thought they could make a decent living. But in this Internet age, it is easy to find out how hard it is to find a family-wage job that has some job security. So we have a shortage of truck drivers.
This shortage mirrors the shortage of workers in other industries. In each case decent wages, job security, or both are missing. And in each case, the industry in question responds not by improving wages or job security but by trying to tap into a heretofore underutilized pool of low-wage replacements. In short, anything to keep wages low and employees, or rather “contractors” in many cases, pliable.
Wages have been stagnant for three decades now. Benefits, including health care, vacation, and access to a good retirement system, have been slashed.
Patrick J. Russell, Seattle