How a little-known 1980 law slashed pay for millions of truck drivers and created big-box retail as we know it
Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Today’s network of big-box retailers and online shopping likely wouldn’t exist without the deregulation of the trucking industry 40 years ago this month.
The Motor Carrier Act of 1980, passed by President Jimmy Carter, slashed the cost of moving goods by truck.
It also eroded one of America’s great blue-collar jobs: truck driving.
A truck driver’s salary has decreased by as much as half since deregulation.
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When Larry Heine was a working man he drove a truck eight hours a day. He saw his family every night, owned his home, sent both his kids to college, and took his wife on vacation to Hawaii whenever he could land some overtime.
As a member of the Teamsters, Heine was guaranteed good health care and a pension. He retired at 51, receiving a cake