Real Women in Trucking has ‘meaningful dialogue’ at FMCSA

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Updated Dec 3, 2019
Left to right: Idella Hansen, FMCSA Administrator Jim Mullen, Tamara Brock and RWIT President Desiree Wood. (Image Courtesy of FMCSA)Left to right: Idella Hansen, FMCSA Administrator Jim Mullen, Tamara Brock and RWIT President Desiree Wood. (Image Courtesy of FMCSA)

Representatives from Real Women in Trucking (RWIT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration met in Washington, D.C. Nov. 6 to discuss RWIT’s concerns about sexual misconduct within entry-level driver training fleets.

RWIT President Desiree Wood was joined by members and truck drivers Idella Hansen and Tamara Brock. They met with acting FMCSA Administrator Jim Mullen and other administration representatives. RWIT presented FMCSA with a brief containing nine recommended action points to address what the organization says is a prevalent pattern of sexual harassment and assault in entry-level driver training fleets. (This brief can be viewed on RWIT’s website here.)

“We had a really important, meaningful dialogue,” Wood said.

Moving forward, Wood said RWIT is going to keep FMCSA apprised of its activities, including an upcoming Facebook Live with EEOC representatives. Wood said FMCSA indicated it is limited in direct action it can take alone but “I didn’t feel they were discouraging at all. I felt like they were encouraging us to go down the path that we are, which could give them the opportunity to do more than what they can right now,” she said.

RWIT’s next steps include trying to talk with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Department of Labor and other agencies that have written about “workplace violence because this is colleague-on-colleague violence that the company does not want to take control of,” Wood said.

“We are going to try to meet with the people from OSHA and these other agencies and our legislators to see if there is a way to untie hands and make this (sexual misconduct) training and the nine action points in our brief things that we can actually do,” Wood said.

While in Washington, D.C., RWIT says it also met with representatives from the offices of Rep. Cynthia Axne (D-Iowa), Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa), Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Florida), Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts).

The RWIT-FMCSA meeting followed a petition RWIT presented to former FMCSA Administrator Raymond Martinez during an FMCSA listening session at the Great American Trucking Show in August.

She Drives Trucks reached out to FMCSA for comment on this story but had not received a response by time of publication. This story will be updated once a response is received.