SPECIAL REPORT: TIA ‘model’ contract fails to impress

| 4/27/2006

All business between truckers and brokers needs to be in contract form - that's just good business. That is unless it's a one-sided contract.

The Transportation Intermediaries Association - a national association of brokers - will be rolling out its model broker-carrier contract May 1, according to published reports.

The contract has been in development for several months. Despite offers from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, TIA did not actively include the Association in developing the contract.

The broker association neglected to seek OOIDA's review and input on the final contract before its release, even though the Association was assured in late November a copy would be sent for its review. But, just days away from its official unveiling, that still had not happened.

The contract was modeled by TIA with input from large carriers and submitted to the American Trucking Association for "review and hopeful endorsement."

That didn't happen. According to the ATA publication, Transport Topics, ATA officials declined to put their stamp of approval on the model contract.

That, along with the fact that the contract has not even been submitted to OOIDA for review before its big unveiling, has OOIDA President Jim Johnston leery of the whole deal.

"Based on what we've heard and read in published reports about this contract, it's so lop-sided that it won't sit on a table," Johnston said.

TIA President Robert Voltmann said the model contract "goes farther towards protecting the carrier than any other broker-carrier agreement in the market," according to the Transport Topics article.

"That doesn't say much about the contracts out there being used by brokers right now," Johnston said.

With the unveiling of the model contract less than a week away, Johnston cautions that these contracts could be popping up at any time.

"I would highly recommend that truckers let us take a look at this contract, before they get into a huge mess with a contract designed with only the interest of brokers in mind," Johnston said.

OOIDA's Member Assistance Department reviews broker-carrier agreements as a free service for Association members.

- By Jami Jones, senior editor