Why Oh Why Have Trucker's Wages Not Kept Place With Inflation?! What Can Truckers Do To Change This????

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Scott K.'s Comment
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Why haven't trucker's wages kept up with inflation, and what can we do to change this?
Rick S.'s Comment
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Why? Because they (the industry) CAN.

What can WE do about it? Not much unfortunately.

We're not going to "organize nationally" (a union). Despite "driver shortages" and turnover - there are still new orientations that start every week, at pretty much every company. And enough "desperate people" (as in people desperate for a job), to fill vacancies for the most part.

When you look at it - $40K for driving a truck (despite the fact it's not a regular 40 hour a week gig) with bene's, still beats digging ditches or flipping burgers for $20K with no bene's.

So I wouldn't look for a whole lot to change, as least not in the "industry keeping up with the cost of living" way of looking at it.

And there isn't really a lot that "we" can do - except operate safely and efficiently and maintain a relationship as a "top performer" with our DM's, so they can keep us rolling.

Sorry to put forth such a "bleak outlook" on the industry - but it is, what it is.

Would everyone love to make more $$ ? Sure they would. Are most "reasonably satisfied" with how they're doing? From appearances here on the board (minus all the whining on other boards) - it would appear so.

If folks wanted to make $100K+ a year - they should have stayed in school, went college, and got a degree in a useful profession (other than black transgender women's studies). Even a college degree is no guarantee of a great paying job, except in certain professions.

So when you look at $40 a year to start (even though it doesn't go much higher than that), it's actually not a bad deal for a job that teaches you a skill in a couple of weeks, and puts you to work earning.

Rick

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
G-Town's Comment
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Rick replied to Scott:

So when you look at $40 a year to start (even though it doesn't go much higher than that), it's actually not a bad deal for a job that teaches you a skill in a couple of weeks, and puts you to work earning.

Scott let me emphasize the 40k figure Rick quoted is a reasonable first year expectation. There are many drivers on this forum making 60-80k driving a truck. The key difference is experience. Second year wages once you absorb the leaning curve and learn to be a top performing driver; 55k is a reasonable expectation. Beyond that...the range I referred to is possible.

Rick S.'s Comment
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Thanks for the correction G-Man.

And yes - income potential, as well as more interesting opportunities open up, as you gain experience and stay out of trouble.

The creme-de-la-creme is pretty much considered the WalMart fleet. 30 months citation & accident free. Round $80K plus really good benefits

Companies that offer fuel, safety and performance bonuses, can also add to your gross income and get you close to the figure that G-Town discussed - and a number of our members here, that are top performers are hitting that mark.

But overall - $40K to start, with zero experience (entry level position) and no college degree - is pretty good in todays market.

Rick

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
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What industry jobs have kept.up with inflation? This topic comes up all the time

I know plenty of people with degrees from top universities who are under employed cause the jobs aren't there. And they have massive student loans which are about the same payment as their rent!

Plus, cost of living is relative. Can you survive your first year making $40k while paying $5000 per month rent in Manhattan? No. But try paying $350 a month in TN. Or $500 a month in MO.

Live on the truck and forget the overhead of a home, utilities, car, insurances etc and guess what? You can become debt free fairly quickly...put money in a 401k and in your bank.

G-Town's Comment
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Thanks for the correction G-Man.

And yes - income potential, as well as more interesting opportunities open up, as you gain experience and stay out of trouble.

The creme-de-la-creme is pretty much considered the WalMart fleet. 30 months citation & accident free. Round $80K plus really good bene's.

Companies that offer fuel, safety and performance bonuses, can also add to your gross income and get you close to the figure that G-Town discussed - and a number of our members here, that are top performers are hitting that mark.

But overall - $40K to start, with zero experience (entry level position) and no college degree - is pretty good in todays market.

Rick

Just a clarification Brother Rick.

A quick point on the Walmart Private fleet. It's definitely the Gold Standard.

Although it's possible to qualify with the 30 months accident free driving record, also working on the account as a Dedicated Driver for a Walmart Transportation Partner like Swift, Schneider, Prime, etc., to cut-your-teeth so to speak offers a reasonable chance of being hired. As a Swift Dedicated Driver running Walmart store loads, WMPF knows my driving and performance record, so there is no guess work and virtually no learning curve in transition. In the years I have been running Walmart Dedicated for Swift, WMPF has hired many of the experienced drivers assigned there.

The jobs are very similar, the biggest difference being WMPF tends to run regionally, where as the Dedicated Swifties are tethered to their assigned DC 90% of the time. A WMPF driver assigned out of Pottsville's 7030 can wake up virtually anywhere east of the Mississippi River and north of the Carolinas, at times further away. Depends on where there is greater demand. Where as my routes are within a 150 square mile radius of the DC. On occasion I'll get a run that terminates in Johnstown NY. But the very next day I am usually running south back to the originating DC, delivering to Johnstown territory stores along the way.

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.

Han Solo Cup (aka, Pablo)'s Comment
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Rainy speaks the truth. I'm still a software analyst for a government contractor and, every year, I simply hope my raise simply keeps up with the cost of living adjustment. I haven't had a raise actually earn me any money since I graduated college. Regardless of the pay structure, I'm looking to trucking simply because I want out of this endless circle jerk that is federal contracting.

Unholychaos's Comment
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Plus, cost of living is relative. Can you survive your first year making $40k while paying $5000 per month rent in Manhattan? No. But try paying $350 a month in TN. Or $500 a month in MO.

This. I pay $615/mo for my HOUSE in Ottumwa, IA. Being in a relatively smaller town when compared to any major city will almost always come with a lower cost of living which makes $40k/yr easily manageable. If someone is worried about cost of living being too high for their pay rate, they can always find cheaper options elsewhere, but they may have to make a few sacrifices.

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
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The simple answer to your question goes back to the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 when the industry was deregulated (ironic considering the regs we deal with now but still). For that, you can thank Ted Kennedy (the drunk) and former President Jimmy Carter.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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The simple answer to your question goes back to the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 when the industry was deregulated (ironic considering the regs we deal with now but still). For that, you can thank Ted Kennedy (the drunk) and former President Jimmy Carter.

Oh come on. There's a lot more to it than that. Now that sounded like something a trucker would blurt out. It sure was a simple answer.

If the Government would have maintained control of rates and continued to dictate who could own a truck, who can haul freight, and what prices everyone had to pay for it you'd be screaming bloody murder about our 'Communist State', and the price of hauling goods would be 10 times what it is today. We'd be making more, but we'd be paying a whole lot more for everything too.

Outside of union jobs I don't know if there are too many blue collar jobs that have kept up with the rate of inflation.

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