Dave Huneryager

Tenn. Trucking Association decries GOP bill on COVID-19 rules as ‘anti-business’

The Tennessee Trucking Association is speaking out against the hastily assembled omnibus legislation aimed at trying to dial back COVID-19 mandates.

Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) earlier this week specifically cited a story he had seen about the challenges facing the trucking industry in pursuing the legislation. But state Trucking Association President Dave Huneryager is asking for lawmakers to let them sort it out for themselves.

“We are hopeful that the federal administration will continue to allow trucking companies to manage their own operations, as has been the case over the past 18 months,” he said in the letter. “Whatever the final federal or OSHA rules may be, the trucking industry is a business that operates in interstate commerce and has to follow federal mandates.”

Huneryager also took issue with a plan to extend unemployment benefits to people fired for refusing to get vaccinated.

“We believe this is an anti-business policy and adopting anything like this would provide a reason for employees to draw unemployment compensation instead of working in full-time employment,” he wrote,

Here’s the full letter sent to all members of the General Assembly.

On behalf of the Tennessee Trucking Association and its 500 members that represent one out of every thirteen jobs in Tennessee, I am writing to you about issues that will be considered by the Tennessee General Assembly during the upcoming Special Session. TTA is an organization that has been in existence and active in legislative matters for more than 75 years and our industry is hopeful that you will sincerely consider some of the issues that are of major concern to our members as you proceed during the Special Session.

There have been many rumors circulating for weeks regarding the issues that will be addressed within the framework of the call of the Special Session. There have been numerous newspaper articles and other comments from members of the General Assembly related to issues that directly affect private businesses in Tennessee. Now that the Special Session has been called and legislation is being filed, TTA wanted to reach out to you with its concerns.

Fortunately, for years Tennessee has maintained an excellent reputation as a business-friendly environment, in large part through limited government intervention through laws, regulations, or taxes. The trucking industry is very appreciative that the legislature created this environment. For the past 18 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented the trucking industry with operational challenges that have never existed before now. Maintaining a safe working environment and being a key player in the movement of all cargo throughout the United States has been difficult to navigate. At this time, there is a supply chain crisis in this country that has placed an additional burden on the industry. Recruiting and keeping CDL truck drivers has never been more critical than it is now. The federal government is presently considering the imposition of COVID-19 vaccination mandates or weekly testing on all employers who have 100 or more employees.

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