Truckers Advocacy Groups

Topic 10052 | Page 1

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Giscard B.'s Comment
member avatar

Are there any trucking advocacy groups out there besides PTDI and TCA. Those only seem to focus on trucker education and carrier companies. As a new driver with a large carrier I am amazed with how much they get away with their practices most of which are boarder line illegal if not illegal!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
As a new driver with a large carrier I am amazed with how much they get away with their practices most of which are boarder line illegal if not illegal!

Giscard, I'm not too sure about advocacy groups, but I am curious about these practices you mention. Could you elaborate a little just for clarity.

Giscard B.'s Comment
member avatar
double-quotes-start.png

As a new driver with a large carrier I am amazed with how much they get away with their practices most of which are boarder line illegal if not illegal!

double-quotes-end.png

Giscard, I'm not too sure about advocacy groups, but I am curious about these practices you mention. Could you elaborate a little just for clarity.

I really meant lobbying groups. Practices

1. Promising paid training and you don't get paid for the first day
2. Being forced to purchase a king pin lock, shoes from them and deducting the cost from your pay check
3. I was given a dedicated run into NYC, multiple trips per day and offered a salary and the promise the runs will be done in 8-9 hours. Turns out it took on average 12-13 hours per day with the average pay ending up being about $12 an hour with extra time , for a run into NYC with a 53' trailer. If I were paid for this run as an OTR driver by company pay scale the pay would have been significantly higher.
4. Having to fight for every penny in stop time, repair delays and all other promised payments and then still not getting paid for some.
5. A performance bonus system that is the same for all including MPG standards. It was the same for me despite running 45000lbs load to NYC, being stuck in traffic for hours, getting idle alerts because traffic is so heavy. Plus I was given an older truck from the fleet that. Had lower MPG.
6. Performance bonus system that is designed for you to never get. My online calculation from the company always excluded 20 points from the total 100 and I'm required to get at least 75.
7. Being promised $6k in tuition reimbursement and couple months in come to find out they only reimburse the financed portion and not out of pocket expenses.
8. In general for the industry I think the pay for mileage driven system is faulty and benefits the carriers
9. Idling policies in general I have a problem with. You can't leave a pet or child in a car because it gets too hot, but you can leave a driver to sleep in a hot truck because of idling laws and carriers refusing to install APUs in fleet trucks. And when we do idle, we loose out bonus. I guess our health and well being is worth less than a dogs.

These are just some of my issues. Wish there were some groups out there lobbying on behalf of us truckers.

Dedicated Run:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

APUs:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Jessica A-M's Comment
member avatar

What it really sounds like you need to do is lobby for yourself and read the fine print. Job sucks? Company sucks? Find a new company or find a new industry to work in.

When we take this job we should already have done research. I know what type of pay to expect, and I know the job is going to be hard. I know what fees are due and when, how my pay deductions will work and for what equipment, when I'm eligible to get paid during training, that getting sent home may mean paying for my own bus ticket back, I've read all the fine print backwards and forwards. I get every answer from my recruiter in writing and I ask anything I can come up with.

Just because it's paid training doesn't mean the pay starts from day one or even week one or month one.

Them having you purchase required work items insures that you have them. If you don't have them and something happens they can prove you did have them at one point.

Any numbers estimates are rarely based on the average drivers. They are generally based on the averages of top performers because it looks more desirable. And, promises on how long it's going to take you to drive through and deliver in NYC are useless. They don't know the traffic and construction reports everyday of the week, they aren't psychic. Maybe they've had drivers that could do it in that time or maybe just one driver that could back in 1990. I doubt you asked what their estimate was based on.

This sounds like a problem with a smaller company that is potentially experiencing financial issues. Not that it makes it okay but, it's a red flag.

Can't comment on the performance bonus.

Tuition reimbursement from any place rarely if ever covers anything out of pocket. It's right in the name, tuition reimbursement. It's meant to reimburse for a tuition charge from a school and nothing more unless stated otherwise.

Yes. The pay hasn't changed much in about 30 years and yeah that sucks. This is where a strong advocacy group would be nice.

Anti idling laws are there for a reason but yes, APUs required would be nice too.

Most of this boiled down to not enough research and it's an unfortunate situation. Time to find a new company? Probably.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

APUs:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
1. Promising paid training and you don't get paid for the first day

Not worth worrying over really.

2. Being forced to purchase a king pin lock, shoes from them and deducting the cost from your pay check

Many blue collar jobs require things like boots, hard hat, jeans, gloves, etc. You can write those off on your taxes so it doesn't go against your income. Be glad you're not a mechanic.

3. I was given a dedicated run into NYC, multiple trips per day and offered a salary and the promise the runs will be done in 8-9 hours. Turns out it took on average 12-13 hours per day with the average pay ending up being about $12 an hour with extra time , for a run into NYC with a 53' trailer. If I were paid for this run as an OTR driver by company pay scale the pay would have been significantly higher.

Be careful when you use the word "promise". A promise is a guarantee, normally put in writing. And no one can predict how long it's going to take to get in and out of NYC

4. Having to fight for every penny in stop time, repair delays and all other promised payments and then still not getting paid for some.

Now this one is indeed common. Some companies you have to wrestle with to get every dime you have coming. Others do not. But almost any company I've ever worked for would try to keep from paying things like layover and detention pay.

5. A performance bonus system that is the same for all including MPG standards. It was the same for me despite running 45000lbs load to NYC, being stuck in traffic for hours, getting idle alerts because traffic is so heavy. Plus I was given an older truck from the fleet that. Had lower MPG.

You obviously won't get very good MPG under those circumstances. Not much you can do there, not much the company can do for you.

6. Performance bonus system that is designed for you to never get. My online calculation from the company always excluded 20 points from the total 100 and I'm required to get at least 75.

Depends on what the bonuses are for. Generally bonuses are aimed at regional and OTR drivers, mostly based upon on-time to customer and fuel mileage.

7. Being promised $6k in tuition reimbursement and couple months in come to find out they only reimburse the financed portion and not out of pocket expenses.

Now this one is interesting. So I guess they're willing to make your payments for you but if you paid cash you're out of luck? That's a bummer but I'm sure it was in the paperwork and you may have missed it. I mean, it's their prerogative to set the terms.

8. In general for the industry I think the pay for mileage driven system is faulty and benefits the carriers

Well I actually like the mileage pay system. Now if you're on a dedicated run into NYC you shouldn't be on mileage pay anyhow. But I think you're on a roll here so we'll cover it. But I like the idea that I'll get paid for what I accomplish. The more I accomplish, the more money I make. I've worked hourly jobs over the years where there was a significant difference between the amount of work some of us did versus the others. I'm an ambitious guy so I like being able to work extra hard to make more.

I also like the idea that the company and I are on the same page. We make money together or we make nothing together. So their interests and my interests are aligned. That's a great situation to have.

9. Idling policies in general I have a problem with. You can't leave a pet or child in a car because it gets too hot, but you can leave a driver to sleep in a hot truck because of idling laws and carriers refusing to install APUs in fleet trucks. And when we do idle, we loose out bonus. I guess our health and well being is worth less than a dogs.

There are some companies that have APU's and that would come in big in places like New York and California where there are strict idling laws. That would be your main recourse - find a company with APU's if you're going to spend a significant amount of time in no-idle states.

Trucking is a strange beast - no doubt about it. You can make a solid living and depending on the job itself you can have a great lifestyle to go along with it. You're probably not going to get rich, but I guess that applies to most jobs.

Really about all you can do is shop around for a company you feel has the best policies, equipment, and benefits for your situation. But trucking hasn't really changed much in 30 years and I don't see it changing anytime soon. It's certainly not a career that suits most people, but it's an amazing life for those who enjoy that type of life and make the most of it.

Dedicated Run:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

APUs:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

APU's:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Giscard B.'s Comment
member avatar

Jessica A-M, you would make a great lobbiest for the carriers, no offense. If I had to actually sign a contract I'd read the fine print. All I had to go on was the company's postings, what the recruiter told me and the company reviews I found online. For this large a company ibfound relatively few reviews and came to findnout later apparently no one sticks aroundbwith them long enough to write a review. This carrier is I believe the second largest in the US and do very well at lining their pockets so they are not in financial difficulties.

All I'm saying is that for an industry that could shut down the country in a couple days if we stopped working, we should have a much bigger voice in affecting laws and policies that govern us.

By the way I am looking to get out. Inexperience is my downfall.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
By the way I am looking to get out.

I'd say if you feel the way you feel then that's probably the thing to do because I can assure you trucking is not going to change anytime soon. I've been in it since '93 and the only things that have changed are a few tweaks to the logbook rules and a there are now lot of electronic devices like GPS, Qualcomm , and elogs. Otherwise, trucking now is no different than it was 22 years ago.

This carrier is I believe the second largest in the US and do very well at lining their pockets so they are not in financial difficulties.

I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but I'm pretty certain all corporations are interested in making as much money as possible. You might as well complain about a priest that is only interested in pleasing God or a real estate agent who is only interested in selling real estate. Corporations exist to make money. That's what they do.

Hopefully you'll find something that suits you better before long. But if you're looking for reasons to be disappointed in a company or a career you'll always find plenty of em. Life isn't fair and the business world isn't merciful. That's just how it goes. You take the bad with the good and roll with it.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

Elog:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

Elogs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Brett explained for Giscard:

double-quotes-start.png

1. Promising paid training and you don't get paid for the first day

double-quotes-end.png

Not worth worrying over really.

Read your "promise" carefully. You might be led to believe you are getting paid to learn backing and the pre-trip, but that's not the case. If you are at school to get a CDL , you are not employed by anyone. So you don't get paid. Once yo do the company orientation and as a new-hire they place you on a truck with an instructor/mentor/TNT, then you are getting paid training.

double-quotes-start.png

2. Being forced to purchase a king pin lock, shoes from them and deducting the cost from your pay check

double-quotes-end.png

Many blue collar jobs require things like boots, hard hat, jeans, gloves, etc. You can write those off on your taxes so it doesn't go against your income. Be glad you're not a mechanic.

I bet they took out payments over several paychecks, not a $250 chunk right of the bat. Makes it easy on you. "Making" you buy these things makes you responsible for them. "Uh, jeez. I forgot my lock on a trailer and it's gone. Can I have another one? Please?"

double-quotes-start.png

3. I was given a dedicated run into NYC, multiple trips per day and offered a salary and the promise the runs will be done in 8-9 hours. .....

double-quotes-end.png

Be careful when you use the word "promise". A promise is a guarantee, normally put in writing. And no one can predict how long it's going to take to get in and out of NYC

As an inexperienced driver, it will take you longer. After a year or two, you would be used to the traffic and be finished before rush hour.

4. (Skipped)
5. (Skipped)

double-quotes-start.png

6. Performance bonus system that is designed for you to never get. My online calculation from the company always excluded 20 points from the total 100 and I'm required to get at least 75.

double-quotes-end.png

Depends on what the bonuses are for. Generally bonuses are aimed at regional and OTR drivers, mostly based upon on-time to customer and fuel mileage.

Did you, you know, ask someone at your company what those 20 points are for? It is a rare corporation that arbitrarily says "No points for you!"

double-quotes-start.png

7. Being promised $6k in tuition reimbursement and couple months in come to find out they only reimburse the financed portion and not out of pocket expenses.

double-quotes-end.png

Now this one is interesting. So I guess they're willing to make your payments for you but if you paid cash you're out of luck? That's a bummer but I'm sure it was in the paperwork and you may have missed it. I mean, it's their prerogative to set the terms.

It's not interesting. The tuition is $X bucks. your living expenses are not tuition. Probably they put you up at a hotel (for "free") and you had to buy your own food. Sort of like OTR truckers do. The company pays back your $X buck tuition only.

double-quotes-start.png

8. In general for the industry I think the pay for mileage driven system is faulty and benefits the carriers

double-quotes-end.png

Well I actually like the mileage pay system. ....

The pay system (.39 CPM to start thing) is what the market will bear. If anyone pays 0.18 CPM, no one will sign up. If they offer .63 CPM, #1 get in line and #2 the company will have the choice of better drivers. (This is classic economics - per Adam Smith)

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Dedicated Run:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Jessica A-M's Comment
member avatar

It's not that I'd make a good carrier lobbyist, it's that I have a lot of experience with corporate BS. No matter the industry, BS is a standard at any corporation. There's a lot of cover your backside involved and I'm well versed in doing so. If I don't have to sign paperwork for a job then I won't be taking that job because without paperwork signed by both parties and dated, I have no CYA. If someone won't email and will only talk on the phone, no CYA. I'm used to digging into the manure and finding the truth is all.

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