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Trucking Industry Covers Up Female Driver Trainees Harassment


Stop Harassment Against Female Driver TraineesAre female truck driver student trainees really being harassed by some male CDL trainers?  Are the stories of verbal and sexual assault true or are they just stories?  Why would trucking organizations and companies want to cover up such acts of violence against women?  In the world of over the road trucking, is violence against women driver trainees really taking place and are the trucking industry leaders doing all they can to cover it up?

For years, this giant industry has moved along in total control of how drivers lives would turn out.  The company could either make you or break you.   With billions of dollars at stake, a large majority of OTR drivers are still just a pawn in the companies game of playing with people’s hope.   Hope that they can have a rewarding career and provide for themselves and their families . . . many of these trucking companies use this hope to pull in new CDL students and drivers, caring not at all that their lives, most often, will be ruined even more . . . all for the sake of the almighty dollar.   Here is a recent email I received:

Mr. Smith,

I received your trucking information about a year ago and I wanted to follow up with you.  All I can say is that everything you said was true.  The tactics used by my company was so blatantly obvious that even a child would have been able to detect it.  Everything was going fine for the first 4-5 months, but then everything changed.  I realize we are in a recession, but it became very clear to me that they were working hard to “starve me out.”    At the same time they were telling me that freight was slow, they were hiring new student drivers every week.  I wish I would have taken your advise a year ago, it would have saved me a lot of heartache.

Truth About Trucking, LLC is not about pushing anyone away from trucking as a career, but to assist in showing how and what one will be expected to go through in order to make trucking work as a career.   Surviving the first couple of years as an OTR driver is the key, which you must realize will be very difficult to do for many.   Again, a great part of long haul trucking is designed for your failure.

Having been involved in trucking in some form or fashion since 1969, I am no newcomer to the industry.  In past years, I have declined to work as a driver trainer and I have never operated around female student drivers.  In fact, with 20 years of long haul trucking under my belt, I never even ran into that many women drivers.  As reports of abuse and harassment by trainers against female students became known, I first responded by doubt.   Thirty two years of driving a truck, locally and long haul, I had never witnessed any such acts against women drivers.   Then came news about CRST and the suit brought against by hundreds of women, which by the way, was refiled on November 30th, 2009.  Unlike many drivers and trucking industry organizations and leaders, I could not believe that all 230 women were simply lying.   This was just one company . . . I wondered if there were other female driver trainees too afraid to come forward regarding these acts of violence which include both mental and physical abuse . . . then came TruckerDesiree.

Desiree Wood aka TruckerDesireeAs I mentioned on the Dan Rather Reports, after Desiree began sharing her story on this blog, I began receiving emails and often phone calls, from women across the country asking for our help in making this issue more public.   First came a few dozen, then as many as a few hundred.   I would always ask each women why they never reported such incidents of violence, even rape by these male trainers . . . and the answer was always two-fold:  (1)  they were afraid of losing their jobs and (2) they did not think anyone would believe them anyway.    Through our investigation, one aspect that always surprised me was the fact that industry “leaders” and organizations tried and are still trying, to keep this issue silent.  This is an issue that not only deals with female harassment, but male harassment as well.  Furthermore, let’s be fair . . . driver trainers have also been harassed by driver trainees.   Bottom line . . . there is a big problem within the trucking industry and its driver training programs.   Why then, is the industry fighting back so hard to prevent this issue from being heard further?

Why would large trucking organizations contact former drivers who are now unemployed and on welfare, and recruit them to write against TruckerDesiree and anyone who works toward making this issue known?   Why would these organizations and trucking companies not want to change their driver training programs and instead, continue to turn their heads when women are reporting physical, mental abuse and even rape?   Furthermore, why is there no law enforcement agency stepping forward to conduct their own investigation into this matter?

How big, really is this issue?   Are you a female CDL student trainee who experienced such acts of violence by a male driver trainer?   Post your experience at Real Women in Trucking.    Trucking organizations have recruited drivers that were once on the side of Desiree . . . I know this as fact.   Why are they wanting to cover up such illegal acts by some of these male driver trainers that they continue to hire?   Why are there still those trucking companies and organizations condoning this behavior and working to discredit those women who are sharing their experiences?

We would like to hear your thoughts . . .

© 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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8 Responses to Trucking Industry Covers Up Female Driver Trainees Harassment. - Post a Comment

  1. Todd McCann

    It’s hard to refute that many women’s claims for sure. I just have to wonder why these women allowed this happen. I thought women nowadays were all jacked up on Oprah inspired self impowerment? Okay, that’s a bit of a stereotype, but since when is holding a job been more important than one’s personal safety and moral integrity? If that had been The Evil Overlord (wife & co-driver), those male drivers would still be looking for their gonads.

    I wonder about the other side of the story too. I once had a butt ugly male trainer that he couldn’t train anymore because he was accused of sexual harrassment. He then admitted having consensual sex with the woman throughout the training period. Only near the end when he reported some areas she needed to work on dud she bother to turn him in. So who was using who? Maybe he was lying. Maybe some ladies are too.

    As I said before tough, it’s hard to deny that many females coming forward. If the guys did it and it can be proved, I say let the castrations begin. But let’s be sure we’re not ruining a guys career over false accusations either.

    Sorry about the typos. Stinkin’ cell phones.

    Todd McCann

  2. uberVU - social comments

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  3. Desiree

    Dear Allen:

    Thank you for having the courage to be the first Man to step up & give Women Truckers a place to speak the truth & not be moderated away.

    In this 2 year journey I found “Women in Trucking” to be merely a front used by the ATA to keep this pattern of longtime abuse under wraps.

    Here are some of the the stories Women Truckers have written to me in just the past
    2 weeks:

    JC wrote to me and said

    “My trainer masturbated the entire time I was in training. When I reported it I was retaliated against until I quit …my DAC now has a number of incorrect items that never occurred & I am being given a bad job reference to be reemployed doing a job I love. I have no accidents or citations & my MVR & DAC do not jive”

    Women reporting abuse are retaliated against by the trucking industry & often from other women who tell them “we can’t talk about these things” OR ” we don’t want to scare anyone off”
    These Women Industry Leaders have something to gain in the form of
    recruiting Women via unemployment programs such as Displaced Homemakers & Welfare to Work Programs.

    As JB Shaffner ( admitted on the BTR show, some male trainers do in fact work in
    conjunction to pass female students around between them to pressure for these women for sex.
    This does occur working in conjunction with dispatchers.
    A Schneider Woman I am in currently in contact with has an incredible story in which she alleges:

    The Trainer/Dispatcher were demoted but she was assigned to the same terminal ,shunned, isolated, “Starved Out” & is now fighting to stay out of a homeless shelter & be reemployed with a ruined DAC from Schneider. The Trainer/Dispatcher has since
    been reinstated to their former positions.

    Another problem with the haphazard recruiting & training arises when
    Women from a variety of backgrounds may also get a romantic notion if they do get a professional male trainer.
    Most men aren’t willing to teach you & then suddenly a man is
    helping you learn. Some Women will then begin to romanticize the situation.
    This often occurs with Doctors where the Female Pstient may misinterpret caring as personal attraction & things may get out of hand, later having a “woman scorned” lash out.

    There are a number of issues being played out that the Trucking Industry has failed to address properly.
    The consequence is a system where Rape, Retaliation & Violence is occurring frequently & being covered up.
    This is happening also to our Women Army Veterans & Women Truck Drivers who have served in Iraq & Afghanistan…. The emotional strain of their increased “Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome” has made these Women have increased rates of Suicide.

    In the Chicago Tribune this past Sunday there was an article regarding High School
    girls being retalilated against by school systems after reporting “Date Rape” situations.

    This is basically what the trucking is doing by the way they recruit Women. They are putting them in a situation where they have a friendly relationship & may trust the
    person to a degree. Perhaps they have known them for several months & then “all of a sudden” the situation changes.

    “There is more to the Story” is the excuse I hear over & over as the stock answer.
    WithIn the Trucking Industry, it is the HR Department, Ellen Voie & the ATA. obligation to bear the responsibility: To make
    companies comply with the LAW!!!!!
    These Government funded companies need to raise their standards to provide training to everyone involved to evade these liabilities & Women need to realize you are
    recruited for your favorable tax incentives by retaining you is NOT a priority to these Organizations at this time.
    Women are coming forward in greater numbers to
    tell their stories in Blogs & You Tube Videos. Please check out & The Lady Trucker Chronicles. Sadly the only REAL
    Support to be successful as a Women Trucker is locating GOOD advice to avoid & avert
    the bad apples.

    Allen & Donna Smith are the Good Apples that give hope to newcomers who want to be
    successful in Trucking.

  4. Allen Smith

    For those of you who would like to listen to the replay of the show back in June of 2009, here’s the link.

    The show moves a bit slow initially, but if you can bear with it, you will here 2 ex trainers talk about the sexual and mental harassment which goes on within company truck driver training

    Hostile Training and Work Environments within Trucking

  5. Trucker Steve

    Had I wrote a reply to this post I would have said exactly what you just had. I believe your about as spot on as can be. It is logical, rational and more then likely what has took place! Finally someone who has some common sense about them in this industry, because there are far to many fear mongers who believe that the entire WORLD is out to get them. Your a breath of fresh air, now off to read your blog!

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  8. Kelly

    I am a true believer about what goes on in big companies and to women in the industry. I have been around and worked in the industry for over 20 years as a trainer, an owner operator and a driver with an educational background in admin of law. I received a lot of grief from the male students, I was yelled at, my hair pulled, and threatened to be pushed out of the truck, I held my own for 8.5 years, and very thankful to the real male students in the class that stepped up to put the others in their place.

    I let whatever they said roll of my shoulders and continued my career in the industry. I owned my own company and trained my husband and helped him get his CDL. He is thankful for it and does not regret me teaching him anything, he will proudly exclaim my wife trained me to drive truck. About two years ago, I accepted a compliance safety position with one of the Country’s largest poultry companies. (The first female in this position in 70 years).

    For the first four months I really believed I found my dream job. Then one day one of my male co-workers had told me that I made him and another male co-worker feel inferior. He stated that he knew I had a lot more knowledge about the trucking industry and compliance than himself and the other male co-worker. He stated that I needed to back down a little bit; I needed to make sure I gave them the information to present to the manager and the drivers; I needed to be a team player. When I did not agree to this, then the problems started.

    When I complained to my boss that my ideas were being taken or a male co-worker yelled in my face, or being treated less than a person, or being left out of training classes, he would only say I had to stay in the background, that the guys were jealous and everything would be alright. It hasn’t been.
    I am deliberately left out of training classes, they constantly talk about me to other employees and make personal attacks, i.e.; how can my spouse stand to be married to me, not worth the flowers my spouse sends me, I don’t know how to do my job, yelling at me when I refuse to assist them with their lack of computer skills, opening my mail, stating If I were a dude I would get knocked out, discussing my medical issues and demanding to know why do I have to go the doctors. Or when CSA 2010 was due to be released I was out right called a liar.

    One male co-worker stating to our boss and I that it would never happen, then when it came out my boss had me give the information to the co-worker so he could teach our drivers. I can go on and on. I do not know where to turn, I am on BP meds now, and have panic attacks every night, I still come to work, do my job and go home. Does harassment go on in the Industry? You betcha and I am still living it, and like I said I work for a large company and nothing is done. Does our HR department know about it, they know everything, and still it is allowed to continue.

What do you have to say about this?

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