September 14, 2015:  MCM Weekly Newsletter

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Sept 16           Driver Appreciation Day
                       Billings Laurel Scale East & Westbound
                       Missoula Muralt's Travel Plaza

Sept 17           Missoula Chapter Safety Meeting
                       12:00 PM - 1:00 PM, Perkins
                       Topic:  Specialist from St Pat's Hospital on the effects
                                   of diet with regards to diabetes and heart disease.

We're Asking For Your Feedback 76th Annual Convention

Our 76th Annual convention in Missoula was a success!  Thanks to all our attendees.  We ask that you please take the time to complete the evaluation and return to the MCM office to  Your input is important in order to continue to make future conventions a success.  Evaluation form    
National Driver Appreciation Week

Colorado Chain Requirement Now in Effect
As of September 1, Colorado's requirement that vehicles over 26,000 pounds gross weight carry chains on the central portion of Interstate 70 in the state is now in effect.  That rule holds between mileposts 133 (Dotsero) in the west and 259 (Morrison) in the east, and applies from now through the end of May next year.  Fines for a failure to carry chains adequate for the vehicle operated are expensive.  For more details, contact the Colorado Motor Carriers Association at 303-433-3375.
The Latest Threat to the Owner
New guidance from the Department of Labor issued in July could pose a threat to the trucking industry's use of owner-operator drivers as independent contractors.
The American Trucking Associations calls it "an aggressive departure from prevailing classification standards," saying it "no doubt signals an attack on industries like trucking that rely significantly on contractors."
Administrator's Interpretation No. 2015-1 is aimed at "misclassification" of employees as independent contractors. The issue has been a focus of the Obama administration and is being pushed by labor unions, most visible among port drayage firms and in recent highly publicized and successful lawsuits against FedEx.
It's "a shot across the bow by the Department of Labor.
The Department of Labor is far from the only agency that determines independent contractor status. There's the IRS and many state-level agencies, including those governing worker's comp as well as state income taxes. However, according to the guidance notice, the DOL's Wage and Hour Division has entered into memoranda of understanding with many of these states as well as the Internal Revenue Service. In conjunction with these efforts, the DOL says, it decided to put out this guidance regarding the application of the standards for determining who is an employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
According to a legal alert from Barnes & Thornburg LLP, the interpretation is significant from a number of standpoints:
It states the DOL's unequivocal opinion that "most workers are employees," under the FLSA.
It fully embraces the "economic realities" test as the DOL's preferred approach to determining whether a worker is an employee or a contractor.
It downplays the significance of an employer's exertion of control over the tasks performed by the worker.
It reinforces the DOL's pattern over the last several years of aggressively examining the classification of workers as contractors.
While much of the guidance in the document is not new, the "economic realities" emphasis "is going to be problematic, A trucking company is not going to be able to say having truckers move your freight isn't an integral part of your business. The 'economic realities' focus "is a test we're set up to fail."
Basically, they're saying the only guys who could be an independent contractor at a trucking company are the plumber and the guy that cuts the grass."
If the guidance is interpreted literally, trucking companies that want to use independent contractors may be forced to go to a model where their core business is not moving freight, but brokering loads to those independent contractors - even to a pure broker model where those owner-operators must have their own authority.
It may have the effect of pushing a lot more one-man, one-truck operations into the motor carrier model rather than being independent contractors leased on to somebody else.
The "economic realities" test has been used by several courts and regulatory agencies for years and includes the following factors:
The extent to which the work performed is an integral part of the employer's business;
The worker's opportunity for profit or loss depending on his or her managerial skill;
The extent of the relative investments of the employer and the worker;
Whether the work performed requires special skills and initiative;
The permanency of the relationship; and
The degree of control exercised or retained by the employer
The guidance repeatedly de-emphasizes the element of control over how tasks are to be performed. Historically, note the attorneys at Barnes & Thornburg, the issue of control has been regarded as one of the most important factors in assessing whether a contractor actually is an employee.
Smart trucking fleets have learned how to structure their operations to win the control test, which may be one reason this guidance is de-emphasizing it. "The reason they're saying the control test is bad is that truckers can win the control test; they can do that right."
Even if you have a contract with a driver that says she's an independent contractor, that's not a safeguard," he says. "It's the old adage of if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck."
MCM recommends that companies check with their own legal counsel to see what steps they may need to take to protect their independent contractor relationships.
However, ATA points out that it is too soon to tell what impact this new guidance will have. "Whether DOL's new view of the law will successfully upset well-settled legal precedent is a question that will have to be worked out in the courts."

Federal State Trucking Associations
When you are a member of the Motor Carriers of Montana, you are part of a federation that includes 50 state trucking associations and industry related conferences and councils.  Altogether, these organizations make up the federation of the American Trucking Associations, which traces its origins to a meeting in Montana in 1933 between the American Highway Freight Association and the Federation Trucking Associations of America.  The Federation is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry.  For your convenience, here is a list of association and affiliates.
Automatic On-Board Recording Device Guidance 2014
September Driver of the Month Nominations
We are now accepting driver of the month applications for September 2015. You may download an application from our webpage at on our Home Page under the Driver of the Month tab.
All applications must be in by Wednesday, September 30 at 8:00 a.m.
Seeking Volunteers for Truck Driver Appreciation September 16
The MCM sponsored Truck Driver Appreciation events will be held Wednesday, September 16, 2015 at the westbound and eastbound Mossmain scale between Billings and Laurel and Muralt's Truck Stop in Missoula.  This annual event will provide lots of great food and prizes.
Any MCM member interested in helping with the Billings location may do so by placing your name in each hour segment that you can commit to. 
Lunch and water will be provided.  Wear your company clothing so drivers can see who is making this happen.  Call Frank at 406-697-0133 with any questions you may have.

Driver Appreciation
September 16, 2015 Volunteer Registry

10:00-11:00WestboundFrank MolodeckiDTSSet up
 WestboundMelanie CollinsH.O.T. ExpressSet up
 WestboundWalt AinsworthWatkinsSet up
 Westbound  Set up
11:00-12:00WestboundFrank MolodeckiDTSServe
 WestboundKathy KuckRCTServe
 WestboundTeresa EhrlickRCTServe
 WestboundWalt AinsworthWatkinsServe
 WestboundMollie OmnicioliDTSServe
 Westbound  Serve
12:00-1:00WestboundFrank MolodeckiDTSServe
 WestboundKathy KuckRCTServe
 WestboundTeres EhrlickRCTServe
 WestboundWalt AinsworthWatkinsServe
 WestboundDiana CorcoranCorcoran TruckingServe
 WestboundClark KennyRocky Mountain Truck CenterServe
 WestboundMollie OmnicioliDTSServe
1:00-2:00WestboundFrank MolodeckiDTSServe
 WestboundWalt AinsworthWatkinsServe
 WestboundDiana CorcoranCorcoran TruckingServe
 WestboundClark KennyRocky Mountain Truck CenterServe
 Westbound  Serve
2:00-2:30WestboundFrank MolodeckiDTSClean up
 WestboundWalt AinsworthWatkinsClean up
 WestboundDiana CorcoranCorcoran TruckingClean up
 Westbound  Clean up

10:00-11:00EastboundKevin BrandtODFLSet up
 EastboundBeg FiggODFLSet up
 EastboundMargo SalsberyWhitewoodSet up
 Eastbound  Set up
11:00-12:00EastboundKevin BrandtODFLServe
 EastboundBeg FiggODFLServe
 EastboundJeanette SittnerRCTServe
 EastboundJennifer McCollumRCTServe
 EastboundMargo SalsberyWhitewoodServe
 EastboundLisa ReynoldsSAGEServe
 EastboundLeo HughesGreat West CasualtyServe
12:00-1:00EastboundKevin BrandtODFLServe
 EastboundBeg FiggODFLServe
 EastboundJeanette SittnerRCTServe
 EastboundJennifer McCollumRCTServe
 EastboundLisa ReynoldsSAGEServe
 EastboundLeo HughesGreat West CasualtyServe
1:00-2:00EastboundBrad WilsonWhitewoodServe
 EastboundDon RueschStieg & AssociatesServe
 EastboundLeo HughesGreat West CasualtyServe
 Eastbound  Serve
 Eastbound  Serve
2:00-2:30EastboundBrad WilsonWhitewoodClean up
 EastboundDon RueschStieg & AssociatesClean up
 Eastbound  Clean up
 Eastbound  Clean up