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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

IANA testifies in favor of independent contractor model


The Intermodal Association of North America yesterday testified before the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce to highlight the importance of independent contractors to the industry.

The committee's Workforce Protections Subcommittee held a hearing titled "Examining Biden's War on Independent Contractors," where federal policymakers and industry representatives discussed federal and state proposals to reclassify independent contractors as employees.

IANA’s testimony highlighted the organization’s opposition to the proposed H.R. 842 — the Protecting the Right to Organize Act — which would amend the National Labor Relations Act and other labor laws to expand protections of employee rights to organize and collectively bargain in the workplace.

IANA also opposes the U.S. Department of Labor’s October 2022 notice of proposed rulemaking, which would revise the department’s guidance on how to determine who is an employee or independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

“Both proposals would wrongfully eliminate important liberties enjoyed by owner-operators, many of which are small, minority-owned businesses,” wrote IANA President and CEO Joni Casey in a prepared statement.

More than 80% of intermodal trucking companies transporting freight have used owner-operator drivers or independent contractors, Casey said. Forced reclassification of independent contractors to employees would strain the freight labor market, she added.

IANA supports the proposed H.R. 781 — the Guaranteeing Independent Growth Act — which would codify the Trump administration’s independent contractor rule that clarified who is an independent contractor under the FLSA by establishing two criteria: the nature and degree of the individual’s control over the work they do, and the individual’s opportunity for profit or loss.

"Preserving the independent contractor business model is critical to support supply chain efficiency and meet the continued fluctuations in cargo demand," Casey wrote. "Changes to this model would have an adverse effect upon all supply chain participants as well as consumers. For the intermodal trucking industry, such changes stand to increase costs, reduce service efficiency and reliability and exacerbate existing driver shortages."

Click here to read Casey’s full testimony.