The President's Column
By Steve Weitekamp
Summer is upon us and for many in the moving business it feels like we are already a couple of months along. With the stress that a busy summer season brings, we need to focus on the fundamentals. Let’s take just a moment to look at a couple of elements that should be frequently reviewed.
How we treat people is always first−how we care for our employees, our customers, and the public at large. We need to ensure that staff members have plenty of water, particularly in the heat of summer. Everyone should be alert to the symptoms of heat illness and how to address its effects. Stress the importance of a safe work environment at all times. Remind those that operate vehicles, with school out, drivers need to be even more vigilant and not allow themselves to be rushed or distracted on the road. Be alert to where you place walkboards and other equipment in the field, placing a walkboard on a sidewalk, even with a reasonable access for pedestrians could result in an accident. One mover, who I have personally observed taking significant actions to provide a safe work environment, is currently in the middle of a costly and time consuming litigation. A pedestrian was looking everywhere but where they were walking and tripped over a walkboard positioned from the truck side door on to a sidewalk. This lawsuit is progressing even though the mover left more than enough room for the public to safely pass without having to step off the sidewalk.
While more than a few movers see it as a burden and a nuisance, proper and complete paperwork is critical. Proper paperwork completion is both the law and your best defense if things go wrong. If I could only say one thing about paperwork, it would be that NOTHING EVER comes off a truck into your warehouse without it being tagged and listed on an inventory list. I have taken too many calls on claims issues related to no inventory. Excuses like, “it was just going to be set off overnight,” “doing a favor for a friend,” and “crew was too tired to do any more than just unload,” can result in a bad outcome.
Over the last month, CMSA has received numerous calls and emails with questions and concerns regarding the “Dynamex decision.” At the beginning of May, we sent out an email "ALERT" on this matter. The purpose of the email was to ensure that our membership was aware of the decision of the California Supreme Court in a case that could have a significant impact on the engagement of Independent Contractors in California. Our current recommendation is to discuss your relationships and contracts with your own attorney. CMSA counsel has advised that this decision is already being reviewed by the legal academic community and largest employment law firms in the state. He believes we should expect a detailed review in the near future. It is always our goal to be supportive of our members in every way possible but have been advised that the intricacies of these relationships are best served by a conversation between a prime carrier and their counsel. That being said, we continue to monitor the issue and will, when and where appropriate, share information as it becomes available.
- CMSA Communicator