Two specific pieces of legislation are of particular concern to us in 2009: the Employee Free Choice Act and the proposed carbon cap and trade legislation.
The EFCA, or card-check bill, represents an unacceptable change in labor policy. Although the bill’s title implies that it will support the rights of employees to freely choose union representation, it has precisely the opposite effect: It eliminates employees’ rights to a secret ballot election.
The bill would have the federal government become the final arbiter of collective bargaining agreements. The change is not only detrimental to our industry and our associates, but to the country as a whole. It removes key principles of the democratic process on which this country was founded.
We oppose carbon cap-and-trade legislation. Government allocation of carbon-based energy use is nothing less than government control over the means and methods of production. It would require the creation of a massive federal bureaucracy to manage the allocations. It would likely result in more lobbying and campaign contribution abuses as citizens compete for the carbon credits being doled out by the government. We believe a carbon cap-and-trade program would further weaken the economy, misallocating resources better allocated by the markets. The creation of wealth would be inhibited, and it is just such wealth that, in the past, funded and sustained the tremendous improvements in air and water quality our country has achieved over recent decades.
We remain committed to responsible environmental stewardship and believe that carbon cap and trade legislation is at best extremely inefficient — and is likely counterproductive — in furthering environmental sustainability efforts.
Increasing regulations and a struggling economy will challenge our industry in 2009. Shippers and carriers must continue to collaborate to navigate the volatile fuel dynamic and global economic slowdown. These partnerships are essential to surviving turbulent times and to our collective goal of enhancing the standard of living worldwide.