http://labornotes.org/blogs/2017/10/review-big-rig-trucking-and-decline-american-dream ‘THROWAWAY PEOPLE’ This work is undervalued even though it's absolutely crucial to the economy. As 27-year driver Greg Simmons says in a recent New York Times profile of long-haul truckers, “We’re throwaway people. Nobody cares about us.” Simmons says he feels trapped in an occupation that no longer provides a decent living, thanks to corporate innovations like the pay-by-mile system, which doesn’t account for all the hours drivers get stuck in traffic or wait on trailers to be loaded or unloaded, a process that often takes hours. For truckers at the ports who move goods from ships to warehouses, the situation is even worse. An in-depth USA Today report (June 20, 2017) exposed the terrible conditions faced by immigrants driving trucks at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, describing their situation as “modern-day indentured servitude.” Many port truckers are locked into lease agreements in which a large portion of their wages goes toward their truck and vehicle maintenance. Their bosses use these leasing agreements to force drivers into punishing schedules, threatening them with losing their truck (and forfeiting all the wages paid into the truck) if they refuse to work beyond the legal maximum hours or if they get sick and can't work. They are also often misclassified as “independent contractors,” depriving drivers of basic protections like overtime compensation, family and medical leave, and unemployment insurance.