I worked in the plastics recycling industry until about 3 years ago. Our margins were incredibly tight, transportation costs often making the difference between profit and loss, so I spent a lot of time negotiating with and working with trucking companies.

I even got to know several independent owner operators or small-fleet operators.

What I learned was a little disturbing. Truckers feel as if the screws are slowly ratcheting down on them. They’re increasingly forced to accept less money for the same routes, take responsibility for more of their own maintenance expenses, and comply with rigorous safety standards that sometimes seem more pro forma than helpful.

Like many American trades, Long haul trucking is not as rewarding financially as it used to be. It’s more stressful than it used to be. The really big fleets do financially well, but their drivers do less well than they used to.

Putting up with intrusive surveillance is just one problem they’re saddled with. Of course drivers hate cameras trained on their faces. Any of us would if we had to put up with it at work.

Just because tech can do something doesn’t mean it should. The impulse to pay workers as little as possible and control their behavior as much as possible will never go away, one of the reasons industry cannot be trusted to regulate itself.

Government regulation is needed here. It’s not okay to spy on workers intrusively.

Written by

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot. jamesfinnwrites@gmail.com

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