Friday, Jan. 8, LMTA's Renee Amar sent a formal letter to Governor's Office requesting priority vaccine classification for truck drivers, and industry employees. The letter in its entirety can be found below, and the copy sent to Gov. Edwards can be viewed here.
Dear Governor Edwards:
Over the past year, Louisiana’s trucking industry has delivered critical supplies such as food, water, medicine, ventilators, medical supplies, and many other necessities reliably every single day. The men and women dedicated to trucking represent a central and important link in the nation’s supply chain. Professional truck drivers, mechanics, dispatchers, safety personnel, and administrative support are all essential in the efficient delivery of the products we all depend on daily.
These same valued employees will continue to play a vital and key role in the vaccine distribution process. Because of this, we need to ensure that the truck drivers, along with all the other employees within a trucking operation, have prioritized access to the vaccine to minimize the potential for supply chain delays and disruptions.
In March, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity, and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) classified truck drivers as essential to the continued viability of our nation’s infrastructure for the duration of the pandemic. The basis for this designation is rooted in the fact that trucking is the backbone of the domestic supply chain. Nationally, over 80% of all US communities rely exclusively on trucks for the delivery of the products they need. In Louisiana, over 75% of all Louisiana communities rely on trucks for their freight needs. Additionally, we have continued to advocate that every role in a trucking operation is deemed essential.
We know that particular types of truck drivers, like medical transport drivers, have a higher classification than other truck drivers currently. But as the COVID 19 vaccine becomes more and more available and groups of workers are re-classified for distribution, truck drivers, along with all trucking company employees, must be on a higher classification list rather than just waiting until it is open to the general public. CISA’s Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce affirms this position and recommends that the list of essential workers “be used to begin planning and preparing for allocation of scarce resources used to protect essential workers against COVID 19”.
The trucking industry is going to continue to play a very important role in this vitally important next phase to end the pandemic. Now more than ever, the resilience and integrity of our supply chain and the many people including drivers that support those efforts need to be protected. As you develop more vaccine distribution plans for Louisiana, we urge you include all trucking company personnel in that plan. As we have witnessed at the onset of the pandemic, when supply lines are disrupted, consequences are fast to follow.
Thank you for your continued leadership through these challenging and unprecedented times. We are here as a resource, so please do not hesitate to reach out to me or any of these members that have signed this letter in support of our position.
C. Renee Amar