On Saturday July 18th, the AskTheTrucker “Live” broadcast took on a display of unity and passion from trucking industry professional drivers which had not been sensed in a long time. The topic was truck drivers wages. The call was for unity among drivers.
The Saturday night broadcast was an open forum format, which basically means the listening audience gets to bring up the discussions. The scheduled suggested topics to be covered were to range from 11 focused industry issues and concerns listed below.
As we opened up the lines and answered to the first caller, owner operator Jerry Fritz, the next 2 hours would not go beyond the first topic of driver wages. All following callers continued to remain on this topic. Mr. Fritz is a veteran driver and has an enormous knowledge of the transportation industry.
1) Truck Driver Wages – Will Drivers be paid for ALL their time? There’s a bill for that!!
2) Changing trucking classification to “Skilled Labor?” What would that mean for truck drivers and for the trucking industry ?
3) What is The Motor Carrier Exemption under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and how does it affect drivers?
4) Will trucking open the doors to those under 21 to drive interstate?
5) The ELD deadline is expected to be this September for the final rule and then enforced by 2017
6) A new rule for a Speed Limiter Proposal?
7) Longer/Heavier Trucks – Will this be coming down the pike?
How will this affect our infrastructure? Highway safety? Driver Wages? Driver Training?
8) Testing Hair for drugs instead of the standard Urine testing?
9) Doubling the Liability Insurance from 750,000 to 1.5 million? Is this really necessary?
10) And How about the FMCSA’s ELD committee establishing new CDL training standards? What will be done to improve standards?
11) And finally, Will CSA scores be removed from public view? The debate continues!
a) methodology b) accuracy to predict crashes
Discussions opened up with driver wages from the 70’s and 80’s and how they compare to today wages. As the show progressed it was determined that one of the main reasons (and there were others) that driver wages have remained stagnant for so long is partially due to the drivers themselves. Their acceptance and tolerance of believing that it’s just “the way things are” has created a mentality of disillusionment, hopelessness and at times victimization.
Another reason for low driver wages is the industry itself. One example is the fact that drivers are used as pawns in the negotiations of freight bidding wars. Mr Fritz explains this and much more as he opens up with his dialogue of “TRUCKING: Then and Now.”
As the show continued, other callers joined in, including Pat Hockaday of TruckersUnited.org, who has also written in depth about driver wages and the solutions to better pay.
By the end of the show, it was unanimously agreed upon, that one main action would need to be taken in order to accomplish better wages for professional drivers.
Listen carefully to the replay:
© 2015, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.