What is the Difference between RWIT and WIT?
REAL Women in Trucking was formed by working women truck drivers, some who are former members of the Women in Trucking Association.
When Women in Trucking was formed in 2007 by non-truck drivers many women truck drivers believed it was an association that would advocate for them, but this did not happen.
Beginning in 2009, the Founder/President of Women in Trucking, Ellen Voie began a campaign to instigate online stalking, bullying and censorship of women truck drivers who asked her to speak up to the trucking industry about sexual assault happening at carriers that were her corporate sponsors. She declined to do so and revoked
the membership of truck driver Desiree Wood who had recently appeared on national television discussing the issue with Dan Rather in an episode called "Queen of the Road".
That was the birth of the REAL Women in Trucking organization, REAL Drivers, REAL Issues!
Since then, REAL Women in Trucking has been the leader in the trucking industry in providing an authentic
representation of what issues affect the retention of women entering the industry as truck drivers.
Later it was revealed that WIT President Ellen Voie had become an expert witness against women truck drivers in the EEOC v Prime discrimination case and the Jane Doe v CRST Van Expedited sexual assault case.
Women in Trucking Founder and President Testified Against a Woman Truck Driver in a Sexual Assault Case
One of the most incredible displays of unethical conduct in the trucking industry occurred during the Jane Doe v CRST sexual assault case when none other than Ellen Voie appeared as an expert witness AGAINST the woman truck driver who was the victim. Her deposition is a public record. We provided an overview of this incident in this blog post and have made her deposition available for download at the bottom of the page.
REAL Women in Trucking was formed as a protest group in 2010 and became a 501 (c)(6) trade association in 2013 supported by members who are truck drivers and mission supporters.
We immediately became an active partner in the Jason's Law truck parking movement championed by Hope Rivenburg following the Murder of her truck driver husband Jason Rivenburg in 2009.
When no other existing associations stood by her side, REAL Women in Trucking was there. Jason's Law was proclaimed to be a national issue in 2015. It was introduced into the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) transportation bill and made truck parking an eligible activity for funding. It also requires states to study truck parking and include it in their freight plans for funding.
RWIT President Desiree Wood acted as project manager for the 1st Jason's Law truck driver survey that examined the critical need for truck parking in 2013 and she is cited in the Federal Highway Administration Jason's Law Report. RWIT was the ONLY organization to have a driver at every FHWA truck parking coalition meeting for several years. Today, many board members of RWIT are appointed committee members on State Freight Advisory Boards to bring the voice of drivers to urban planners and freight mobility research scientists who work towards solving the truck parking problem.
Making a Difference in Trucking
In 2017, REAL Women in Trucking hosted the 1st Annual Lady Truck Driver Cruise and the Inaugural "Queen of the Road" Awards. It was the 1st dignified recognition event ever created for women who work as truck drivers. The cruise hosted speakers on a variety of subject matter to educate drivers of their rights and included the 1st self-defense class designed specifically for women truck drivers.
Speakers included, EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Jan Shelly who explained details about the Prime Discrimination case and delivered a workshop on employment law. Her presentation was made available on our YouTube channel called "WomenTruckersNetwork" in 5 segments.
Anne Gladys Balay, a scholar, author and former truck driver provided a preview of her book "Semi Queer - Inside the World of Gay, Trans and Black Truck Drivers". You can view her 3-part presentation here.
REAL Women in Trucking was joined in a lawsuit with The Nation, represented by Public Justice to unseal records in the CRST Sexual Harassment case. We were successful and in August 2018 began providing access to law firms seeking more insight into this issue that was being swept under the carpet by the trucking industry. This action has helped numerous law firms study the patterns and practices of this fleet to eventually begin winning significant cases against them.
Public Justice also aided REAL Women in Trucking in drafting an Amicus Brief
meaning, “friend of the court" in the United States Supreme Court Case Prime v. Oliveira, that arose from a dispute between a truck driver named Dominic Oliveira and New Prime Inc., a transportation company that Oliveira worked for.
Oliveira had signed an agreement with New Prime that designated him as an independent contractor rather than an employee. However, when Oliveira filed a class-action lawsuit against New Prime for violations of federal and state labor laws, the company argued that the dispute should be resolved through arbitration rather than through the courts.
The Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favor of Oliveira, holding that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) did not apply to him because he was classified as a transportation worker engaged in interstate commerce and that the FAA contained an exception for such workers. The Court also rejected New Prime's argument that the question of whether Oliveira was an independent contractor or an employee should be decided by an arbitrator rather than by a court.
The Prime v. Oliveira decision has significant implications for the transportation industry and for workers who are classified as independent contractors. It clarifies that transportation workers engaged in interstate commerce are exempt from the FAA and can pursue claims in court, rather than being forced to arbitrate disputes with their employers.
REAL Women in Trucking continues to work on issues of misclassification of truck drivers with labor advocates and urges drivers to understand how these arrangements ultimately lead to wage theft and carrier abandonment without recourse for the driver. Our most recent action in 2022 was this federal register comment on the proposed rule by the Department of Labor regarding employee and independent contractor classification under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
In 2019, REAL Women in Trucking hand-delivered a petition demanding immediate action from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on Sexual Misconduct in several Truck Driver Training Fleets. The Women in Trucking President Ellen Voie declined to sign the petition.