Kit On The Web
I'm a university professor who used to drive part-time for Central Penn Transportation. Now, I'm driving part time for Turkey Hill Dairy. I have a Pennsylvania Class A CDL with Hazmat/Tanker endorsements. I live in Lancaster, PA.
Howell Underground (YouTube)
Posted: 2 years, 6 months ago
Is there something you can put under the mattress that would simulate a zero-gravity (head and feet both elevated slightly) shape?
Posted: 4 years, 3 months ago
There are like a million political forums on the internet, why not go there and preach to them? I'm sure some would love to hear it.
Unfortunately you are not gaining much traction here.
This was a recent post of mine on the Black Smoke Matters Facebook page. Even though the main topic is law enforcement, the main thrust of the post is pertinent here.
It’s revealing to look at what we were taught growing up about law enforcement. Without casting stones (many of us have beloved friends, neighbors, and relatives who work in law enforcement), we should at least be willing to look squarely at who law enforcement works for. They work for the same people as do our government officials. They are part of the government. Bottom line, everyone including all the rest of us who work in the labor force, works for Wall Street and the huge multinational banks. Since Nixon’s appointment of Lewis F. Powell to the Supreme Court, corruption has been legal in the U.S. (see the 1971 Powell Memo for proof). Wall Street has been making its bets with taxpayer money for a long time, especially since the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1935 (separation of commercial and investment banking) and Citizens United. George Carlin said it best: “You have owners. They own you.” Let’s face facts. The big commercial interests (including the criminals on Wall St.) are our firmly established owners and they won’t give away their power without a fight. Law enforcement, no less than Congress, carries out the wishes of big money. We should probably feel some pity for our friends and neighbors who are on the front lines in this battle, especially if we believe them to be good people because, make no mistake, law enforcement is not working on our behalf, no matter how much they may want to. They are carrying out laws put into place by politicians who are owned by big money. The ELD mandates are a perfect example. These laws were put into place to keep O/Os and small business owners from being able to compete with the mega carriers. Because the game has been rigged for a long time, the only way for the little guy to continue to compete was to fudge log books and run more hours. The ELD mandates were the last straw because they closed the final loophole that allowed the little guy to compete. The writing is on the wall. Unless there is a way to level the playing field, all American workers and small businesses will keep getting squeezed the way mom and pop stores have been squeezed out by WalMart.
Drivers who work for the mega carriers have just as much to lose as the O/Os and small carriers. Why? Because once the mega carriers squeeze out all of the remaining competition, they can pay whatever they like for labor—mythical driver shortages notwithstanding. For that reason, the battle over ELD and HOS mandates are important for all of us to consider. The big picture of economic justice affects all of us. If we can’t stick together against the huge multinational corporate interests and big banks, we will have less and less true freedom. Economic freedom is probably the most important of all—even more important than religious freedom, educational freedom, and any other type you can think of—because it gives us the leverage to insist on all of the other types of freedom.
If you find that your agenda leaves you consistently taking the position of supporting the mega carriers, you should ask yourself who benefits from that support. If you believe that you personally benefit from such positions at the expense of regular working people of all professions, crony is the only apt name for you.
Posted: 4 years, 4 months ago
Forgive me if this has been answered already. What do you have to gain from this Kit? Are you a part-time O/O why exactly are you such a proponent of this black smoke matters "movement"/idea? Myself as someone who is new to the industry I don't see how I, as someone who will be in training or just finishing training, will benefit from even considering researching more about this minuscule event.
That's a fair question. I am a part-time/seasonal driver for a small company. The character attacks don't reveal much about truth. They don't reveal much about the relative merits of an argument. If an argument is valid, it should be acknowledged. I'm willing to acknowledge the merits of the arguments in favor of hard work and the avoidance of complaining and pity parties. This conversation would probably go much better in person with everyone sitting around a table. I'm not pretending to be someone I'm not. I'm not a typical college professor and you would see that in five minutes in a normal conversation. I admit that the banty rooster comment set me off a bit. I've always considered myself a strapping athletic lad (even though I'm not a lad any longer) who knows how to take care of himself. In the real world of hard work (logging is hard work no matter how you slice it) and athletics, no boss or coach ever questioned my work ethic. I know your worldview of academic egg heads doesn't allow for my description to make sense so I will just have to accept that you don't believe me.
What do I have to gain? I've always believed that monopolies were evil. In the game of Monopoly, as soon as someone skillfully/luckily acquires Boardwalk and Park Place (or all the railroads, or what have you), everyone else is screwed and the only reason to keep playing is to gratify the ego of whoever outmaneuvered everyone else early on. I don't believe that big corporations are the friends of regular people. The reason to break up monopolistic entities is to make it fair for the enterprising little guy to get a leg up. Social mobility is a big part of the American dream and if you have looked into it, you will know that the United States is nowhere the top of the list in that regard. My agenda, for as long as I can remember, has been to make things fair. It has always bothered me to see any kind of bullies taking advantage of others. Systems that are set up to allow a few people to exploit the rest have been on my radar since I was a teenager talking politics with my grandfather (a well-known Oregon log trucker). It's a verifiable fact that government at all levels is much more likely to represent the interests of the wealthy few than the less wealthy regular people. My agenda is to make things fair--to make it possible for anyone with pluck and good ideas to rise to the top. Independent operators in 1980 had a much better chance to compete with the big carriers (who were not nearly as big then) than they do now. The table is tipped. The game is rigged.
We all can agree that the government is corrupt. We may not all agree on the best way to fix the problem. The reason that I don't trust big money more than I trust the government is because politicians are puppets. Their strings are being pulled by big money. If the people could figure out some way to influence them, we could get a much better outcome from the same people who are now pandering to those who butter their bread. Even better would be to get better people in office, but we would still need to make sure that the government is of the people, by the people, for the people. That is not going to happen at this point in history without dynamite. Those who have held power for so long will not suddenly release their grip on Boardwalk, Park Place, all the railroads, etc. Power concedes nothing without demand. That's where the truckers (and teachers, too) could really flex their collective muscles. Teaching the next generations of truckers to accept the current power paradigm in this industry (and in society), in my opinion, is a grave mistake. However, I readily admit your point that fascism and other rampant bullying often happen in the sort of power vacuum that would ensue. History bears that out over and over. I also admit that I don't have a good answer for that. That's the key flaw in my argument. Probably the only thing that would work (and both of these arguments rest on the assumption that people are basically good) is either (a) the Messiah comes and fixes everything or (b) some wholesome values are allowed to be taught to everyone's children. Imperialism (I beat you, I eat you) and other forms of legal predation have not yielded good results. We humans could probably collectively learn values of truly abundant life (win-win) but a lot of brainwashing about the merits of winning at the other guy's expense would have to be unlearned, first.
I will say again that I've learned much from the wisdom and experience of the moderators who have attacked me personally and/or my position in this thread. There is a wealth of good information and good advice on this forum. I will retract my courage attack with apologies to anyone offended. Please forgive me for that. I will always believe that we all have good things to teach each other if we are willing to keep our minds open.
Posted: 4 years, 4 months ago
I grew up in Oregon. Log truck (Kenworth long logger) was the first truck I drove when I was 18. I got my chauffeur's license on my 18th birthday. I don't know if what we did in 1978 is like log trucking now but I'm sure it's still a difficult and dangerous job. From what I can tell, the amount of money being made is the main difference. When I was a kid, a dad could work a reasonable amount of hours per week and own a couple of vehicles. His wife could afford not to hold an outside job and they could go on vacation now and then. My dad was able to help 5 kids get through college. I liked the hard work but I wasn't too sure that I liked following orders. I always wanted to know why I had to do things. "Because I said so" was never an answer I could stomach for long. When my dad watched me pulling cable for the yarder or running a skidder while singing opera arias, he was doubtful that I would stick with it. And he was right. Teaching always pulled me harder than anything else in life. That said, I still like working hard as long as it makes sense and I don't feel as though I am somebody else's tool. I like to think that the work I do benefits everyone, not just a few selfish people who may have created a job. Thankfully, not everyone is selfish who creates jobs and I've managed to get along quite well with many job creators.
I still question authority but I work hard and efficiently. I believe that values are more important than knowledge. I believe that everyone should question what they're told until it makes sense. If it doesn't make sense, keep trying to make sense of it. Don't accept conventional wisdom at face value. Get under the surface and figure out who benefits from what is being said. There is always more than meets the eye. Win-win is possible. Abundant life is possible. It is not necessary to keep people locked away from the fruits of their labors. When all is said and done and the fat lady sings at the end of the show, the mighty will be put down from their seats. The rich will be sent empty away. If you don't believe me, go look it up.
Posted: 4 years, 4 months ago
If you have a valid argument, make it. If you think you can fertilize those eggs, get to it. Attacking the person is not the way to git 'r done. If I were to look directly at you, eyeball to eyeball, I would see only your willingness to say whatever is necessary to keep the big companies happily churning through the new obedient workers so that no one must be fairly compensated. And since we are looking at each other and not at arguments, I will say this. When I look at you, I see a coward and a crony. The American worker is producing more than at any time in history but receiving less compensation. This is a problem that needs an answer. If you are not part of the solution, you are the problem. Either lead, follow, or get out of the way.
Posted: 4 years, 4 months ago
"Forty years ago, truckers formed one of the best paid and most politically powerful parts of the U.S. working class. Today, according to the Department of Labor, the average trucker makes about $40,000. In 1980, according to one industry analyst, the average trucker was, after adjusting for inflation, making the equivalent of more than $110,000 today."
Yes, it's possible to work your way ahead of the pack. That's what we do. But at what cost? Is getting ahead of the other guy win-win or win-lose. It might even be lose-lose if you consider the context of how much less truckers get paid now, on average, than they did in 1980. Working your way ahead of all the others who are losing doesn't insure that you are a winner.
"How do we build societies which prosper? Shall we do it through exploitation — or through liberation? Through subjugation and slavery, through hate and violence? Or shall we do it through equality, freedom, and justice?"
The point of the article quoted above is that it makes better economic senses, not just ethical sense, to work to build a society that rests on equality, freedom, and justice. If that clever business owner to which you are referring works hard and smart and is, perhaps, also lucky; then of course she or he might be peeved at having to give away all that prosperity to regular people who don't deserve it. The problem is that these bright people tend to figure out how to build moats around their success to keep out other (and future) bright people. It's like a King who resorts to murder because he was blessed with too many sons. There is also a stubborn insistence that people who are less bright, industrious, and lucky should not even have enough prosperity to lift themselves out of poverty, even though they are willing to work as many hours as others work. That's a pretty powerful judgment to be making on behalf of the rest of humanity.
As an aside, are we sure that job producers are worthy of praise simply because they produce jobs? Are not slave owners also job producers? My definition of slavery is removing a person from the benefits of her/his productivity. Job producers are great when the point of the jobs they create is mutual benefit. How many jobs in our times meet this criterion?
To get back to the point, one way these clever job-producing people could be induced to help society at large (although they may be peeved about it) is to make sure that a substantial percentage of their annual wealth (especially that above $10 million annually) goes to build roads, bridges, and rest stops with plenty of truck parking. Why should fuel taxes, tolls, and other forms of bleeding those who merely pilot the vessels of commerce be assessed to pay for these necessary items of our collective infrastructure? We are not punishing people for being clever. If they were truly clever, they would realize that such expenditures all will end up back in their own pockets. This is an economic phenomenon that escapes policy makers on all sides of the political spectrum.
By this same principle, it would make sense to raise shipping rates.
"Following deregulation of the trucking industry in the late 1970s, during the Jimmy Carter administration, competition among truckers increased and compensation fell as commonly set rates went by the wayside. At the same time, the once legendary clout of truckers’ unions (the Teamsters, a name synonymous with union power, was originally a truckers’ union) began to disintegrate along with the political influence of unions throughout the country."
Unpopular opinion: If deregulation led to a few people figuring out how to monopolize things, perhaps regulation is necessary to put regular people back into a decent standard of living. Should the clever job creators be allowed to starve the rest of us? If such an outcome is advisable, then the only way to do it is to take big money's influence out of politics and let the politicians do something other than serve as puppets to big money.
Posted: 4 years, 4 months ago
Granted, a wildcat strike would be fairly indiscriminate in terms of who would end up in the cross hairs. Your point is also well taken when you say that satisfaction is about much more than just money. Ultimately, the strike should be aimed at lawmakers (and to some degree, the judiciary) who could insist that workers in the transportation industry work reasonable hours and still receive compensation that is more in line with their productivity. This could be done in any industry, but as Frederick Douglass said: "Power concedes nothing without a demand." Trucking is uniquely situated (and perhaps teaching) to forcefully apply the demand. If the cause is just, this demand can be made in good faith. It isn't necessary to assume that a bunch of wannabes are just b*tching because they can't be as successful as certain company drivers who make loads of money and work whatever hours they like (although this assessment may not be quite as realistic as some people may wish other people to think it is). It's sort of like the bootstraps people telling all of the less worthy workers to suck it up and try harder. That plays right into the hands of society's owners.
There are two ways to get increased wages for drivers - laws or unions. No one is going to pass a law that says you have to pay truck drivers more money, and with such a fractured industry where 97% of all of the companies in the nation have fewer than 20 trucks how to you intend to unionize?
Wildcat strikes don't necessarily need a union to execute, as some recent teachers strikes in red states have shown.
What are the demands of the strike going to be? Who is it directed at? How is it going to increase wages permanently across the board for all drivers?
Again, with wildcat strikes, maybe it’s better that the unions don't currently have a lot of pull in trucking. The most effective strikes, lately, all over the world, have been wildcat strikes--leaderless strikes--where everyone involved has one or two simple issues that they all agree on and they all know when they are being fed a pile of bull. That way, the leaders wouldn’t pull the trigger, the drivers would. Union leaders have become way too cozy with management over the years and have sold out the American public right and left (conservative, liberal, radical, and anyone else you can think of). Union leaders, for the most part, are not our friends. It's probably better if this movement stays loosely organized around a few key topics (overall pay, shipper and broker ethics, quality of life, and safety) and allows for the regular people who actually do this for their livelihood to call the shots. When considering a job action, use the Duck Test: If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck—it’s a duck . . . So instead of leaders calling the shots and negotiating behind closed doors, drivers can decide when to pull the trigger and, even more importantly, when to come back to work. Union leaders typically want to call things off way too soon.
If anyone in the discussions leading up the strike have an agenda, the most honorable agenda to have, always, is to advance the cause of rank-and-file workers. If a win-win with owners is impossible (and it isn't), then it would be better to sacrifice the needs of the wealthiest for the needs of those who actually produce something in society.
"Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you're talking about, they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community." George Bailey ~It's a Wonderful Life
Posted: 4 years, 4 months ago
I think the company drivers will stick with the movement if they can see how the rising tide for owner-operators also affects their wages, hours, and so forth. The plight of all workers, not just truckers, is tied together. It was much easier to make ends meet in the 70s, regardless of what you did for a living (speaking generally) than it is now. If a rising tide lifts all ships, a falling tide grounds all ships. The tide has been falling for most workers, no matter how you may want to spin it. If I have an agenda, it is that our owners (society's owners) stop calling all the shots. Wanting a bigger piece of the pie isn't socialism. Calling someone a socialist is a straw man tactic. Check out some of today's economists (particularly Stephanie Kelton) if you would like a reality check on how taxes actually work. Rich people can only spend so much. The rest goes to offshore tax shelters (also watch Nick Hanauer on Youtube when he warns fellow plutocrats to beware). Generally speaking, I believe that your organization has loads of helpful information and advice, for which I'm grateful. I would offer; humbly of course, because of my status as merely a part-time driver trying to make ends meet as I pay my child support; that the most ethical stance to take in all of this, is to promote that which most benefits drivers versus the mega companies that want to hire them. You have correctly identified that driver turnover is a huge problem. Don't be too quick to blame drivers (including terminal rats) for all of this. If we truly had a driver shortage, wages would be north of $140,000 as they are in some remote minefields and other places in Texas where there are actual shortages.
Posted: 4 years, 4 months ago
So raising driver wages through unionization would help driver wages, would have little or no influence on the profitability of trucking companies, and would hurt the economy in general. Because there are 3.5 million drivers that stand to benefit but 315 million (or so) Americans that would be hurt by higher truck driver salaries, nobody is in any kind of a hurry to unionize trucking. Add to that the fragmentation of the industry which would make unionization a million times more difficult than in an industry with only a few major players (the Airlines for example) and you come to the only conclusion you really can - unionization of the trucking industry is not going to happen anytime soon, if ever.
The premise of your argument is that of trickle-down economics. Paying workers more, overall, would help the economy, not hurt the economy. Putting money in the workers' hands allows them to buy more goods. The rising tide lifts all ships. Taking the money out of the hands of CEOs and putting it into the hands of the people who do the actual work helps the people who do the actual work. A related idea is that of taxation. Raising taxes on the wealthy is another way to get the money flowing up instead of down. This money could be used to fund our ailing highway infrastructure and to provide more rest stops for trucks.
"You see, Republicans almost universally advocate low taxes on the wealthy, based on the claim that tax cuts at the top will have huge beneficial effects on the economy. This claim rests on research by … well, nobody. There isn’t any body of serious work supporting G.O.P. tax ideas, because the evidence is overwhelmingly against those ideas."
Krugman Article--Tax Policy Dance
If taxing the wealthy doesn't hurt the economy, neither will raising wages hurt the economy.
The other issue is the increasing productivity of American workers in the time frame that you mention. Using data by the U.S. BLS, the average productivity per American worker has increased 400% since 1950. Therefore, “it should only take one-quarter the work hours, or 11 hours per week, to afford the same standard of living as a worker in 1950 (or our standard of living should be 4 times higher). Is that the case? Obviously not. Someone is profiting, it’s just not the average American worker.”
George Carlin said it best: "You have owners. They own you." If the April 12, 2019 wildcat strike I've been hearing about in Black Smoke Matters comes to pass, those owners may have to take a step or two back.
Posted: 2 years, 6 months ago
Best Mattress For OTR Driving