National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC) and the International Liquid Terminals Association (ILTA) told congressional leaders in a joint letter that they support establishing the proposed COVID-19 “Heroes Fund” for providing “premium pay” for essential workers, including fuel distribution workers, during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Dan Furth, president of NTTC, and Kathryn Clay, president of ILTA, signed the April 15, letter, which was addressed to Senate majority leaders Mitchell McConnell and Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Houston minority leader Kevin McCarthy.
“We write to express our support for a proposal to establish a COVID-19 ‘Heroes Fund’ for the provision of pandemic premium pay to reward, retain and recruit essential workers,” Furth and Clay said in the combined statement. “Our organizations together represent the combined workforce responsible for the storage, loading, trucking and distribution of diesel and gasoline fuels.
“Without the continued work performed by these operations professionals, the fuel required to move critical supplies and people—including essential workers in other industries—would become unavailable. A program to provide hazard pay and recruitment bonuses to support the critical workforce responsible for the distribution of diesel and gasoline would clearly strengthen the resilience of this critical energy sector, our nation’s ability to respond to the virus, and the health of our entire economy.”
They emphasized that fuel distribution workers, including all those involved in the “storage and transportation of petroleum products at terminals, storage facilities and racks” are essential critical infrastructure workers under the US Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) guidelines. Tank storage operators and tank truck drivers also are front-line workers who must be onsite and in physical proximity to do their jobs, potentially putting them at “greater risk of exposure during their daily duties than is the case for most of the American workforce.”
Association leaders also pointed out that small businesses, which play a key role in fuel distribution—with 56% of NTTC carrier and fleet members considered small companies, and a third of ILTA members employing fewer than 60 people—face unique challenges, and would be the “most likely to apply for government funding under the proposed program.” So government support should include options, not mandates, for fuel distribution companies.
“For these reasons, it would be inappropriate, burdensome and economically inefficient for the federal government to require premium pay to all workers at all companies involved in fuel distribution,” the associations concluded.” Any government program should be designed to offer additional options to assist qualifying companies in recruiting and retaining their critical workforce.
“Good governance demands that fuel distribution companies applying for funding should be required to document their unique circumstances necessitating government assistance for premium pay for affected workers.”