The Perfect Storm


Set the wipers on high. Companies are entering The Perfect Storm of new union leaders flexing their muscles, seasonal shortages, resignations, compliance issues, and more. Like following the path of a hurricane, this storm has been on the radar for a while.

On March 22, 2022, Sean M. O’Brien was sworn in as the new general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. According to Teamster (2022), he “will bring a more militant, grassroots approach to taking on employers and will prioritize mobilizing rank-and-file members to get involved in the union.”

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As with any first-term president, O’Brien seeks to demonstrate his value by delivering on campaign promises. Setting his sights on UPS, O’Brien flexes his union muscles to eliminate a two-tier wage system for part-time and full-time workers, establish better overall pay, and air conditioning in every vehicle, similar to Herbert Hoover’s 1928 campaign slogan of “a chicken in every pot.”

O’Brien finds himself firmly established on higher ground, knowing that UPS handles approximately a quarter of the U.S. parcel deliveries. A work stoppage could result in company losses in the billions of dollars—hedging against more than $1 billion in lost wages for 340,000 UPS employees. An article by ABC News (2023) states, “The value of the goods it [UPS] delivers annually has been estimated at 6% of the U.S. economy.”

Is the International Brotherhood of Teamsters battle a precursor to a Federal Express showdown? FedEx workers are also part of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Teamsters’ Warehouse Division, which represents lift truck operators, equipment operators, drivers, and clerical employees. A sympathy strike with all these union members could cause a supply chain disruption that eclipses COVID’s goods and services slowdown. 


Besides worker strikes, organizations are challenged with filling the gap for resigned drivers, securing additional truckers for seasonal work, and never-ending compliance considerations. Many organizations turn to third-party staffing providers; however, not all are the same, and finding the best match can be challenging. Organizations seeking temporary help with Class A CDL drivers need to consider the following:

  • Driver Resignations. Many organizations first turn to local replacements to fill the need for driver resignations. This approach may not yield successful results as these temporary workers sometimes don’t demonstrate the commitment to follow through with the assigned job. Rather than seeking local workers, organizations should seek help from staffing agencies with a deep database of drivers who demonstrate full commitment to their designated locations.
  • Third-Party Vendors. Third-party vendors have to be carefully vetted. Some organizations are often unionized. Drivers will not cross picket lines if a strike occurs. Organizations must carefully review any contractual arrangements, especially during a strike.
  • Insurance. Staffing agencies that offer a fully insured workforce are highly desired. Drivers fully insured by the staffing agency insulate any hiring organization from insurance-related claims.
  • Sequestered Workforce. Unlike local workers who can easily take another local job during an assignment, sequestered drivers are individuals the staffing agency houses and allocates a per diem for expenses. The sequestered drivers have a history of being more loyal to the project and have little to no sick days. Contracting these individuals for a defined period of 45 days reduces the likelihood of leaving the assignment for local work.
  • Seasonal Challenges. Understanding seasonal issues is crucial for effective planning. Organizations must anticipate surges in demand or short-term staffing needs during peak seasons or holidays. In addition, staffing agencies must have a certified professional talent pool readily available to secure uninterrupted services.
  • Qualifications. Organizations need to ensure that drivers who temporarily work for them have a minimum of 1-year experience and have been screened for safety issues and compliance violations. The staffing agency must provide proof of each driver’s CDL, medical card status, and drug test. They must also ensure yearly motor vehicle records for each individual are current with compliance and record-keeping requirements.
  • Contingency Plan. A contingency plan ensures business continuity. Each plan must designate clear points of contact and identify the ultimate decision-maker within the organization. The plan should also have provisions for collaborating with local law enforcement, determining picket line locations, and requirements for dealing with the media.
  • Depth of Knowledge and NLRB Compliance. Organizations must develop a deep understanding of labor regulations, particularly those governed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Any temporary security personnel must be well-versed in these regulations, enabling good-faith negotiations, avoiding confrontations with strikers or the public, and preventing legal complications.


The trucking industry is entering a challenging period propagated by new union leadership, labor disputes, and never-ending seasonal challenges. Amidst these difficulties, organizations are burdened with driver resignations and compliance considerations. However, turning to third-party staffing providers can help bridge these gaps—but only if they are properly equipped. It’s important for any organization dealing with worker issues to carefully vet their staffing agency options and ask qualifying questions to ensure reliable assistance.

Remember: cheaper is not always better. The lifeblood of any organization should never come down to hasty decisions made in stressful situations.


Trevor Fandale is the president of Huffmaster. He joined the company in 2016 as vice president of Finance, bringing with him a strong background in financial analysis and strategic planning. Trevor has provided executive assistance to develop short and long-term company goals, plans, and development strategies. Trevor’s expertise and vision have been invaluable to the company’s success. For more information, visit 


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