Protecting or Roads and Good Jobs!

Let’s Continue to Work Together to Pass of AB 316

Teamwork makes the dream work. AB 316, which would require a licensed operator in any automated vehicle over 10,000 lbs, has shown the best in all of us in Joint Council 7. Your hard work shined bright during the Assembly floor vote, where Assembly Members voted overwhelmingly in favor of AB 316 in a 69-4 bipartisan vote.

The collaboration between both Joint Council 7 and 42, the IBT Legislative and Political Department, and every local within CA has propelled this bill forward with an aggressive and coordinated approach. Your willingness to make calls to legislators to secure votes, coming to Sacramento in mass for committee hearings, and members talking about their jobs through testifying and media interviews made all the difference. I’d be remiss to not mention our two amazing California Teamsters Public Affairs Council lobbyists, Shane Gusman and Matt Broad who have been working tirelessly to get AB 316 through. Their leadership and guidance have helped us leap over the hurtles that have popped up along the way and will take us to the finish line.

The roll out of AV testing has left limited ability in what local jurisdictions can do, which is why local elected officials have been supportive of AB 316. AB 316 will not only provide safety measures for the public, but also protect good union jobs. The San Francisco Locals took charge by asking San Francisco Mayor Breed and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to publicly support AB 316 with official letters to the author. Local 150 in turn went to Sacramento Mayor Steinberg and the Sacramento City Council asking for similar support. They also convinced the only local elected official to oppose AB 316 to come off the opposition list. Local 70 is working on getting a similar support letter from Mayor Thao in Oakland, and our southern California brothers and sisters are asking LA Mayor Bass to also publicly support our bill. Our local political connections have paid off in garnering momentum and adding on additional political pressure to our state legislature to support AB 316. As they say all politics is local, and that’s no different for our state legislators.

We’re halfway there, but we still have a long way to go to get to the finish line. Tech lobbyists, who outnumber us in Sacramento, have been putting out a false narrative that they’re doing us a favor because we hate our jobs, and we cause accidents which their robots will resolve. We’ve all witnessed the failures of the AV commuter cars in San Francisco, so the notion that their trucks will be safer is ludicrous.  The idea that we hate our jobs is not only insulting but false, it’s why the stories of what we do as truck drivers has mattered in getting AB 316 passed. The stories of how truck drivers are public safety agents and stewards of the road, the countless stories of lives saved because of human instinct, and how their job is part of who they are and part of their family, need to continue to be told. Legislators need to be reminded it’s not just a job, but a family they are impacting.

As we head into the State Senate, we’ll need you to continue to put pressure on our elected officials to be the voice of the workers and not the robots. 

Trish Suzuki Blinstrub, Political Director