Online Exhibits

In the 1920s, it was incredibly easy to enter the trucking industry.
As a result, the number of independent operators grew. The influx of unaffiliated operators created instability in the sector by lowering profits, safety standards, and shipping costs.
These factors led first to state-by-state regulation, then to federal regulation.
"If it does become deregulated, that it will be fewer and fewer carriers. And they will be like the railroads; there will be just a few big ones in the United States. Some small ones here and there roundabout."--John Thomas Outlaw, June 5, 1980.
In the 1930s, trucking increased with the construction of paved roads and became subjected to government regulations. These regulations included the Motor Carrier Act of 1935 and the Hours of Service Act of 1938.

President Roosevelt signed the Motor Carrier Act in 1935 in an attempt to stabilize competition in the developing industry. The act gave the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) the authority to determine which companies could become motor carriers and what services they could offer. The act also stated that rates charged by the carriers had to be “just and reasonable." The rates must be filed thirty days in advance with the ICC. These rates were then allowed to be challenged by competitors. If the competition argued the validity, the ICC suspended them until they were proved legitimate.

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In 1938, the ICC enforced the first hours of service regulations. These rules were intended to stabilize the growing trucking industry and protect drivers from fatigue. Drivers were only allowed to work 12 hours within a 15 hour period. The max hours per week that drivers could work was limited to 60 hours over a 7 day period for daily drivers or 70 hours over an 8 day period.

Teamsters and other trade unionists fought to change service rules to limit driving time to 8 hours a day and 48 hours a week.
Continue Code of Federal Regulations: Hours Of Service, 49 C.F.R. (1938) NARA. Code of Federal Regulations: Hours Of Service, 49 C.F.R. 1938. Periodical.
Ultimately, regulation increased costs and rates. Before regulatory laws passed, prices were lower and shippers perceived service was better. Goods that fell outside of ICC control were cheaper and moved at rates 20 to 40 percent below the same regulated products. New Layer From the start, the organization has sought to protect workers from corporate interests. Although the Teamsters have organized workers in several occupations, their main focus has been to champion freight drivers and warehouse workers. Continue Local 25 of Boston is one of the original affiliates of Team Driver’s International. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) was formed in 1903 with the merging of the Team Drivers International Union and the Teamsters National Union.
A telegram from J.M. Gillespie to Thomas L. Hughes A telegram from J.M. Gillespie to Thomas L. Hughes asking that Local 471 be able to strike because their employers refuse to give them the reduction which they agreed to do. New Layer The regulation of the trucking industry happened alongside the Teamsters' strikes for better hours and wages in the 1930s. In 1934 Teamsters took part in the historic strike in Minneapolis where workers demanded not only union recognition, increased wages, and shorter working hours, but also the right of the union to represent warehouse workers. This strike proved vital for the Teamsters and the labor movement. As a result, several labor laws were enacted, including the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act. Then, a year later, Congress passed the Motor Carrier Act. Continue New Layer The deregulation of the trucking industry adversely impacted the Teamsters. Non-union companies who sought to cut costs by curbing wages and opposing unions suddenly flooded the industry.
The competition pushed nearly 200 unionized carriers out of business during the first years of deregulation. The unionized carriers that managed to stay in business had to adapt.

A Teamster Magazine from July 1961. The International Teamster Magazine from July 1968. The International Teamster Magazine from July 1961.
The industry remained highly regulated through the 1970s. In 1980, Congress thought that regulation was inhibiting market entry and carrier growth.
As a response, Congress passed the Motor Carrier Act of 1980. They hoped the act would promote competition and efficiency in the trucking industry, as well as promote a variety of quality and price options for consumers.

The law massively reduced the involvement of the ICC in regulating the industry, and it created more competition between common and contract carriers. At the same time, the act gave individual motor carriers more freedom to set rates.

As a direct result of deregulation, the number of trucking companies doubled between 1980 and 1990.
Both the regulation and deregulation of the industry changed who could enter the industry. Who could enter influenced consumer costs and competition.

Many who have lived through the period of deregulation remember the uncertainty it brought to the industry. For new drives, the effects of these fluctuating laws continue to impact their lives today.
Roads and Regulations Introduction Regulation Teamsters Deregulation Conclusion