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Raising the Standards of the Trucking Industry


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Trucking Companies Prepare for Possible Driver Union Battle

Apr
30,
2010
12
Truck Driver Union

Truck Driver Union

Union or non-union?  That is the question many truck drivers across America have debated for years.  Truck drivers face long hours, low pay, disrespect and continual abuse by trucking companies which come in the form of taking advantage of CDL students and new drivers as a means of cheap labor. Couple this with the on-going abuse of the truck driver DAC Report and the illegal lease agreements between driver and the trucking company lease-purchase programs, professional truckers seem to take it from all sides.   Recently, I received an email from a recruiter of a major trucking company.  Here is a small part of the message:

“I am a recruiter for a major carrier and have been for some time.  Though it is never discussed, I’ve been there long enough to understand how it all works .  It’s frustrating watching drivers be treated as an expendable resource as well as purposefully being paid an unlivable wage in order to create turnover.  I’d like to be part of the solution to the problem rather than the instrument of the companies who cause the problem.”

For five years now, I have been publicly speaking and writing about the abuse of truck drivers, purposefully being done by the trucking companies and the “leaders” of this industry. I have always maintained that the trucking companies, the dispatchers, the recruiters and the trucking organizations all know too well that everything I have disclosed through the years is accurate.  The above email from a veteran trucking company recruiter is verification.   Furthermore, this is not the first message I’ve received from recruiters and dispatchers within the industry . . . only the first that I have shared publicly.

I never expected to be well received by trucking organizations and the so-called organizations standing up for drivers . . . but drivers can expect that Truth About Trucking, LLC will continue to fight to “raise the standards of the trucking industry.”   As more dispatchers and recruiters who possess a greater deal of character than their peers, continue to come forward to confirm the truth that we first exposed on a public forum . . . drivers will see a change for the better.   They must first understand that any change for the professional drivers will only come about through the works of the drivers themselves.

If trucking or driver organizations sincerely cared about their drivers, there would be no DAC abuse . . . there would be no lease purchase program designed for the driver to fail . . . there would be no CDL graduate paying $5000 for a license and sitting at home a year later without a driving job . . . there would be no cheap labor pool of new truck drivers earning .19 cents per mile . . . and there would be no constant, self-made turning over of drivers by the trucking companies.   It is no wonder why so many thousands of drivers are in favor of unionizing the trucking industry.  If trucking companies only continue to abuse the professional truck driver, CDL student and newcomer to the industry, who is left to fight for themselves?   It will have to be the driver.   Once again, all eyes are on the Employee Free Choice Act.

The Employee Free Choice Act would allow the truck drivers, not the trucking company, to choose whether and how they want to form a union.  Many drivers have their eye on this legislation and so does the ATA and trucking companies across America.  In March of 2009,  I had John Wojcik, the editor of  People’s Weekly World Labor as a guest on the Truth About Trucking “LIVE” talk radio program.  I could see this issue coming and it is now breaking the horizon.  The ATA and trucking companies are preparing for the battle.

Personally, I can see the pros and cons of a union.   Having been an owner of a trucking company, I can understand the concerns from a business viewpoint.  However, we are not talking about any business . . . we are talking about the trucking industry.  More specifically, we are discussing the long-haul trucking industry.  In an industry that has been described by professional, veteran drivers as the “most corrupt” industry they have ever seen . . . is a union the only answer to fixing the problem?

Truck drivers who are for organizing a union within their trucking companies, believe it is the only way to receive the respect and pay they deserve.  Apparently, the American Trucking Association believes other wise.  The ATA has added a new “business solutions” publication to help trucking companies prepare for the potential passage of the Employee Free Choice Act.  In other words, it is a publication to assist trucking fleets in understanding how they can fight back against those truck drivers demanding equal rights, pay and benefits.

Organizations and trucking companies fighting against drivers, keeping them right where they want them to be.  Whether you are for a union or against is not the issue.  It appears the giant trucking organizations are against truck drivers even having the right to choose.   This employee right could very well make the trucking companies abandon the abuse and actually give truckers the respect and lifestyle they deserve.

Allen Smith

© 2010, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

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12 Responses to Trucking Companies Prepare for Possible Driver Union Battle. - Post a Comment

  1. [...] the original post: Trucking companies and truck driver union | AskTheTrucker Share and [...]

  2. Robert Bradlow

    Sadly this is the same old song where ignorance, pessimism, a lack of self respect, and oppression have kept what remains of the pool trapped in their respective rat wheel.

    Ratchet jawing on the radio and in person is all most can muster.

    Sure we all have griped about it, but when solutions are presented and action is expected; most if not all cower away from intimidation posed by the enormity of the task, fear of the conglomerated oppressors and losing what little income drivers have.

    Most drivers know little else for a career, and in the current economy fear that they would surely starve and lose everything if they should take a stand against the machine in any form.

    Ultimately what needs to be done and I believe would be the most effective is to go ahead and form a union in a way that has no additional expense to any individual. Or should I say unrealistic expense.
    History has proven that there is safety and power in number.
    If every CDL toting person were to join up, and pay $1 a month…
    How many drivers are there in the country now?
    Over 4 million I think was the last I had heard, and that is going back almost 10 years ago.
    OK, do the math. 4 million times 1 dollar is how much money a month??
    What could we do for each other then, heh?

    Of the Drivers, For the Drivers.
    Sure there are administrative expenses, however if we take lead from the business world and look at how virtual companies are run, we might be able to pull off some form of unionized organization that spans the country in the worlds largest V.C.

    The only problem is what has always been the problem; Getting enough of you steering wheel holders to agree on anything, much less agenda and solutions.

    The way I see it, what seems to be the best angle of attack would be to form the union and strike via passive resistance…

    Form local groups to educate would-be new drivers at the source.
    Wherever you live, find all the driving schools, vocational programs, and training facilities in your area and post ads to call out drivers to help.
    National, State, County, City, just like the government, we need organization to viably pull it off.

    Find a way to close the schools by protesting and educating new recruits against their infatuation with Kris and Bandit.
    It ain’t like in the movies dude!!

    If we eliminate the influx, we have solved many of the biggest problems: Expendability, turnover and the absence of human value.

    Next, if we can maintain the plug, we work on education via an alternative vocation fund. Oh yea, that 4 million dollar fund thingy… I get it now.

    Now we are extracting from the pool and really socking them where it hurts while protecting our own.

    How are we hitting below the belt? you may ask…

    This will draw national attention by way of additional economic stress where we now have nailed everyone below the belt. Yes, including ourselves, but there will always be sacrifices, before gains.

    Who am I?
    A former company (multiple) driver who managed to become a legitimate owner operator for only 2 years before 9/11… and it all went down hill from there.

    I am one of the transplants who jumped out and never looked back.
    Working full time for a local company in a different career field, I now make triple what I did as a driver and to top it off, have been able to turn a lifelong hobby into a side business of my own as well.

    I have no regrets for leaving the trucking industry other than missing the road, but all I have to do to kick that thought out is to remember about the never ending and growing supply of 4wheeler imbeciles.

    Only you can make a difference in your life, driver.
    Only an organization of drivers can impact this country like never before and bring about change that has been so desperately needed, for decades.

    I believe that Men today would not have survived had they been born 200 or even 100 years ago.
    Better man up and make a difference boys, because fit has already hit the shan and it’s only going to get worse.

    QuitcherBitchen and stand up!
    MAKE IT HAPPEN.

    • Paul

      There are many problems with your idea. Companies and unions aren’t in fact that distant. In other words union leaders and unions can be corrupted.

      Telling young drivers that it’s not what they think might make them think that you just want to cut down the competition (which is true). Don’t forget about the immigrants! Also, it appears that there is a shortage of truck drivers in the long haul sector. No biggy…what are immigrants for?

      Since you quit trucking you might not be the best person to tell others to try harder for what they want?

  3. [...] [...]

  4. Allen Smith

    Well said, Robert. I always say that the only reason truck driver’s rights continue to be violated, is because the truck driver’s keep allowing them to be.

  5. Jeff

    WHAT IF 80% OF ALL TRUCKERS OR EVEN A 100% IN THE U.S. STOPPED DRIVING FOR ONE DAY, WOULD THAT CREATE ANY LEVERAGE?

    • Paul

      I don’t know. It might cause some problems for the truckers themselves. Immigrants don’t drive that bad and are cheaper. Also, the companies that the trucks belong to will have to cover the loses and that will mean pay cuts, penalties or dismissals. Independent truckers have to pay from their own pockets the loses for the clients.

  6. Walter Ellis

    UAAD is seeking a CONGRESSIONAL HEARING to address numerous safety violations in the trucking industry supported by the FEDERAL MOTOR SAFETY CARRIER ADMINISTRATION. This organization under the DEPARTMENT of TRANSPORTATION, conspires with trucking companies to create unsafe conditions on our nation’s highways.

    CENTRAL REFRIGERATED SERVICE, CRS’s training program is designed and implemented to give Drivers the minimum amount of training to use tax payer’s funds to get as many Drivers on our Nation’s highways with safety not being a concern

  7. Lenny Barton

    The lack of response to this is part of the problem. Drivers are too tired, too stressed, too worn-down and apathetic to take up their own cause. What can be done to push this legislature thru and make it happen?

  8. joseph nolen

    My dollar would be added!

  9. David's wife

    My husband is gone from 8:30 a.m. in the morning until 12:00-1:00 a.m. The insurance costs about $125.00 a week. The insurance company controls what medications the Dr. can prescribe. I feel like a single mother. My husband has been doing intermobile for about 1-1/2 years. (1/2 year at CRST) and (1 year at JB Hunt.) He makes about $600.00 a week. Subtract $75.00 a week for gas to get to work. He made more at CRST, but his hours were all over the place.

    We have tried to get a run for one company with JB Hunt. There turn over is high. He did get a 2 cent a mile raise in feb. At the end of the month he will get another 1 cent per mile (his first year.) They sent him a jacket and a patch.

    Around Christmas they sent us a letter saying that we should look into food stamps, etc. He is working 12-14 hours 5 days a week. It is not the government’s job. He should be paid a living wage.

    He was a driller for 25 years and was told it is a young man’s job.

    Any suggestions to help us keep our family afloat. Sorry for rambling, but it has been extremely hard since the housing market went belly up.

    Thanks.

    David’s wive

    • Allen Smith

      Who told him to look into food stamps and why did they tell him that?

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