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Many sides of truckings’ mandatory detention pay dispute



Debate continues over mandatory detention pay

Debate continues over mandatory detention pay

Lack of Detention Time Pay is nothing new, it’s been happening for years, so why all the talk now? Drivers are becoming fed up with a lot of things going on; Too many regulations and proposed rules, high fuel costs, low pay, less than ideal freight rates, broker rates, HOS, ELD’s, and more writing on the wall of other things coming down the pike.   Add to that giving 20 or so hours /wk of your time for free ( unpaid DT), and the frustration mounts.  They have become more vocal on Social Media while journalists are reporting and exposing more of the industry problems.

It’s difficult for DOT not to be aware of what’s going on, especially since holding a driver up can interfere with his/her HOS , which now becomes a safety concern. ( Safety is the magic word)

At a a House Small Business Committee hearing in November,  DOT administrator Anne Ferro said.
”Driver pay and extreme loading dock delays have a significant impact on drivers’ ability to be efficient, professional, and safe. In short, uncompensated delays force drivers to press legal and physical limits to capture a day’s pay. The logistics industry gets this time free on the backs of the drivers and small businesses. Uncompensated detention time needs your attention, because what makes the job better, often makes the job safer.

Although Detention time was included in DOT’s highway bill, Congress did not include it in their first draft of their highway bill. So discussions mount among drivers.  Should the government create yet one more regulation to ensure paid Detention Time?   You would think it would be a unanimous “yes” among drivers, but the government track record for regulations is not the “best’ when benefiting drivers. I guess you could say not all “trust” the possible outcome

Review it

Most OTR drivers are paid by the mile, not hour, so it only makes sense that there should be compensation for this type of payment arrangement while the “wheels aren’t turning.”
The truth is, the trucking industry has gotten away with it for years, exploiting drivers, whether they be owner operators or company drivers.

Owner operators either deal with the shipper directly or through a broker. If Detention Time pay is not pre-arranged by owner operator, then there may little an o/o can do about it after the fact. Sure, he/she can decide not to haul for that shipper, but the fact is that there are MANY other carriers who will.  If the o/o does demand an arrangement for DT, chances are the shipper will look for someone else.

Company drivers on the other hand have grown to accept lack of DT as part of their job.  Can you imagine accepting not being paid for wiatingtime, even if it means going against your HOS clock, interfering with your next appointment time, and finally taking way from your paid miles and the ability to make more money?

We all agree that ALL drivers should be paid Detention Time, there’s no argument there, but why are they not getting paid now?

1)      Carrier does not charge shipper ( in order secure negotiation of load) therefor does not pay driver ( Company driver)
Here is a comment supporting this which was made on a post back in 2011 ATA Opposes HR756- Paying Truckers for Detention Time  

 COMMENT: “The dirty little secret here is that these carriers use the drivers’ unpaid time as a negotiating factor: if nobody is going to charge detention pay, then they can bid a lower rate on the load-under a company that DOES demand detention time. Also, companies that do charge detention usually pocket the majority of it on company drivers-paying them something like $15/ hr after the first two unpaid hours. The ATA knows that if anyone actually starts looking at a driver’s unpaid hours, the next place they’ll look is the unpaid hours the carriers themselves dump on the driver. No-they dont want to go there!”

2)      Carrier charges shipper detention time, however carrier does not pass it on to company driver.
“Trucking Industry Saves Millions in Driver Detention Pay”

3)      0/0’s Arrange load though shipper and do not discuss DT rates.  Driver shows up and has to wait X number of hours without pay.  At this point the o/o has to decide whether he/she will ever do business with this shipper again.  Let’s say they choose not to,  How many other o/o’s or large carriers will?
Answer: A lot

Let’s say that o/o did state their DT time rates and the shipper refused, now the decision is up to the o/o to either take it or not.  It sounds simple doesn’t it,?just don’t haul it, right?
Not all the time, sometimes that load was the one that determined whether you go home or not; sat for an extra day or not, etc….

The 2 Sides of Detention Pay

Although all will agree that shippers and carriers should both be held responsible,(ensuring drivers be compensated for all their “waiting” time,)  the difference in opinion lies in HOW they should be held accountable. Should the drivers “unite” (hmmmm) or should the Federal Government step in?
Note:  Drivers Uniting would only help o/o’s not company drivers. It would mean that ALL would agree not to haul freight that didn’t include DT payment. But what about the larger carriers? Couldn’t they haul it?

Next, who is responsible for driver DT compensation?  If you’re a company driver, then it’s the carrier, but if you’re an o/o, then it’s the shipper. So if there was a mandate, who would be mandated?
Note: FMCSA does not have authority over shippers when it comes to regulations. ( but they do carriers)
If the carriers were mandated to pay drivers DT, the carriers would then need  to make sure they were paid by shipper to cover their DT costs.

Once the company driver gets paid for detention time, it would follow through with o/o’s  as they will now have leverage.
So let’s say the carriers are forced to pay their drivers and they in turn charge the shippers, It could gets sticky:
How much? Minimum wage? ( not acceptable)  Anything too low for the company driver would reduce o/o leverage when negotiating with the shipper or broker.

 Summary and Solutions:

How do you fix a problem where everyone is responsible to some degree? Carriers, Shippers, Receivers, Brokers, and Owner Operators?

Carriers want to appease their customers so they don’t demand DT rates.
Shippers and Receivers aren’t concerned because no one is making them accountable and they don’t care about the driver, safety, HOS, ELD’s,  or anything else, as long as they are making more profit.
Brokers– Only the ones that o/o’s have a good relationship with and trust, those who will determine up front and ensure driver gets paid for DT.
Owner Operators – Many o/o’s do not calculate DT in the load they are negotiating.  Many ask for DT, but when told that it’s not paid, they take the load anyway, regardless…. Thus no repercussions for shipper.   Many WILL refuse to do business with that shipper, but guess what, there are 10 more who will!
The only one who is not directly responsible for DT time pay is the company driver, UNLESS, it becomes part of a demand when being hired.

Solution:  So the question remains, Should Detention Time be mandatory and who should be mandated?
Ideally, it should, but for significantly more than just minimum wage.
Although it is the shippers and receivers who are responsible for holding drivers up, it is the carriers who will need to be regulated and  in turn make shippers responsible through compensating their ( carrier) DT expenses. In other words, the days of exploiting drivers by using them as negotiating tools would be over. On the bright side, the playing field would be even for everyone.

Once shippers are hit in their pockets by carriers, you will see how much more quickly appointments are kept.

 Video Credits and Related Posts
“Detention (You Ordered It, You Unload It)”- by Brad James
Brad James-  Facebook music page

The scrum over mandatory detention pay

Can Electronic Logging Devices Fix Detention Time ?

The Case For Mandatory Detention Pay

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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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6 Responses to Many sides of truckings’ mandatory detention pay dispute. - Post a Comment

  1. Allen Smith

    Another thought regarding who is making the profits from not paying Truck Drivers Detention Pay

  2. Denise

    This is the biggest cut throat business there is. I have so much to say that after reading this just verified what I always suspected all along. How many times I have missed time with my family, because of not making enough money while i was out on the road having to stay out another week.
    How many time i was sick in a truck, parked in dangerous places because of running out of time waiting to get loaded or unloaded or waiting to get dispatched. No bathroom sitting on the side of the road or vacant lot because the customer doesn’t allow trucks to stay until you get your hours back so you can move. I could go on and on but you drivers know what it’s like. Thats why I quit driving but I am not giving up on writing.

  3. scott levan

    Im all for drivers to get paid as soon as you pull into a customer.. I always ask my driver manager to clock out till I start getting paid after 1hr and 20 min then im on the clock , but with haveing satellite on the truck and electronic logs there is no reason why I should not get paid when im at a customer .. if rates go up and prices in the store do to then let it atleast im getting paid …

  4. […] J.B. Hunt. Carriers won’t like that. However, according to an article from Ask The Trucker, “Once shippers are hit in their pockets by carriers, you will see how much more quickly appointments are […]

  5. John

    I am an independent owner operator i cant tell you how many times this has happened to me. i have a delivery to make load pays 875 not the best rate and certainly not the worst either. had a delivery. Waited 7 hours to get off loaded. had another pickup to make and had another load booked after that. by the time i was unloaded the place was closed so i didnt just lose my next load i lost my next 2 loads which put me out about $2000. so i think at the very least they should have to compensate us on the next load that was missed. also loads that get delayed for an extra day should pay you for that load even if you dont drive it. or there is a second solution dont pay any downtime/layover at all and a minimum of $3.00 a mile on all loads no matter what. then higher amounts can be negotiated depending on lane and or competition. personally i like that option better. cause it will make up for these extra delays. and honestly $4.00 a mile sounds good once the eld mandate goes into effect

    • Allen Smith

      And It will get worse if thousands of truckers don’t flood the Government phone lines starting this wee.
      Say No To Anti Trucker wage amendments in the FAA bill
      Tell your Reps to SAY NO to FAA reauthorization bill’s Anti Trucker wage amendment (State preemption,meal & rest break Amendment)
      No Fisher or Denham Amendments! I fthe amendments are allowed to go through in the FAA bill, you can forget detention time or any kind of wage reform.
      Call Your Reps Government Switchboard.
      Tell them to SAY NO TO FAA (F4A) bill with Anti-Trucker Wage Preemption Amendment (Denham language) 202-224-3121

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