By: Allen Smith
With the CSA about to come out further for the trucking industry, motor carriers are stating how difficult it is to find qualified truck drivers. According to many trucking companies and recruiters that we hear from and what we are seeing all over the internet, experienced and qualified drivers are few and far between. Now, it is time to tell the truth about what is still going on within the trucking industry.
There are thousands upon thousands of experienced drivers ready to go to work, but some trucking companies are still up to the same old abuses that have plagued the industry for years; the same abuses that if they continue, there really will be a truck driver shortage. Because there are so many companies that still do not fully understand the CSA, the screening process for hiring new drivers has turned into an out-right lie for many drivers. A new hire should be brought to the company orientation, only after everything has been checked out by the employer and the driver has been determined to be qualified for hire. However, this is not proving to be the case. Drivers are being brought by Grey Hound to company orientations, only to be denied employment and then left with no money or any way to get back home.
Here is our most recent email, received today by a 30 year trucking veteran with a perfect record:
“I am currently looking for work as a driver. I am 52 with over 30 years experience and a perfectly clean driving record. I have fell prey to the scam of 2 carriers that promise you a job and send you far away to their home terminal for “orientation”. That brings to mind showing you the companies’ policies and procedures. Getting you familiar with their equipment and issuing your fuel card, keys, etc.”
“However, I found this to be an out and out lie! The “orientation” to the new job turned out to be a fine screening of individuals to get only a certain type of individual. All others were literally turned out on their ear! Those with a paid bus ticket to the facility found they had no where to stay and no way to get back home, all without warning. Why do they tell you orientation, when they in fact are still screening applicants at that point?”
“Why can’t they tell from your driving record and application alone if they want to hire you? Also, why does it take weeks for them to make any kind of decision.
We are starving while we wait for the phone to ring each day. This is really crazy! If there are really companies out there that still value experience, safety, responsibility and clean driving record why can’t I find them? Where or who are they? I am available now so who do I apply to? ”
“Thanks for all you do for all of us.”
So tell me recruiters and companies . . . why do you bring a driver all the way to your orientation class without yet fully having made the decision to hire them? Furthermore, why do you believe that you have the right to throw these people out, leaving them stranded far away from home? You treat experienced, qualified drivers like this and at the same time, you argue that you can not find experienced, qualified truck drivers.
Perhaps this driver did not fit the image that companies believe the CSA is looking for? However, it seems to me that these companies could have already determined this from the driver’s application and could have prevented busing these applicants all the way from their home states, only to leave them stranded. Here is what many of the trucking companies need to understand . . . CSA is not the problem . . . the lack of qualified drivers are not the problem . . . you, the motor carriers are the problem.
In a second email, the driver advised:
“They used a very unrealistic “stress” test and then check your heart rate. If you do not fall within their criteria, you are rejected. I missed out by 3 points. Also, they are very secretive about the criteria. They would not tell me what my rate was, only that I failed by 3 points. Most of the older drivers were eliminated right there. Some were stranded because they received a bus ticket to get out there and a motel room. They were not told that these things only applied as long as you passed “orientation”. If they failed at any point, they were tossed out on their ear with no place to stay and no way to get home.”
These two different motor carriers are based out of Columbus, Ohio and Carlisle, Pennsylvania. If trucking companies refuse to change their attitude and policies toward drivers, then everyone will know who they are; and the same goes for CDL truck driving schools that continue to pull in CDL students to take their money and fail to provide them with employment, as per the promises made.
On the other hand, trucking companies and CDL schools who are working toward the betterment of our nation’s drivers, will be given such notice and recognition.
There are certain companies listening to trucking social media, asking questions and listening to drivers to learn what they can do to improve the industry for drivers. Yet, there are still companies like these that continue to give the trucking industry a black eye.
For those trucking companies who continue this and other practices, you can not continue to treat drivers with such disregard for their well-being, safety, their families and their lives. You can continue to cry about the lack of qualified drivers, but by continuing this behavior toward drivers, you will be ultimately responsible for causing these professional drivers to eventually leave the industry all-together. Not the CSA . . . but you.
There is no reason to pull a driver away from home on a bus, with the understanding that he or she is hired, only to find that they must pass tests at your orientation first . . . and if they fail, getting back home is their problem. Would it not be more ethical to inform the “new hire” that employment will be based on passing any orientation tests, letting the driver choose whether or not to attend and take the risk?
In the future, I will begin listing the names of these companies that operate in such a manner. If they want to continue this disregard for drivers, then everyone will know who they are.
© 2010, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.