Is It Good To Work For Unions ?

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Pitkin's Comment
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Does anybody has a job as a driver and work for unions? Any experiences,positive or negative? How different is it from regular driving for truck companies? Please help. Thank you

40 Ton Land Captain's Comment
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Does anybody has a job as a driver and work for unions?Any experiences,positive or negative?How different is it from regular driving for truck companies?Please help.Thank you

Of course being unionized is better than non-union! Without the union you have nada, just an employee ID number and a right to get fired anytime. Mostly it is local freight like LTL and delivery drivers that are unionized. UPS for example or a beverage distributor.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier
6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

Contrary to what someone else just posted, it's not that simple. You can get the benefits of a union wage without being part of a union. What I mean is that in LTL , companies have to be competitive, so that even non-union LTL companies will match to a certain degree the wages of a unionized LTL company. You can still get terminated for being a jackass, and really the union doesn't really offer much more than a company that doesn't have a union. I actually make more than certain unionized LTLs.

401k is much more reliant than a pension. The union pensions are constantly being downgraded due to mismanagement and other factors. The cost of union dues plays into that "free" healthcare they boast about. In short, all the hype about unions in LTL is pretty much just that - hype.

I see you're in PA. And if you're looking at LTLs close to you, then you have more options than just one LTL company. At YRC, the union approved a mandatory percentage "give-back" for employees - basically, you're paying the company to keep the lights on. Google it and you'll see what I'm referring to. It's a significant percentage. UPSF is contracting out their freight to other carriers, as is YRC and ABF. At all three, viz. UPSF, YRC, and ABF (the main union shops), drivers at the bottom of the seniority board are typically on call, meaning you could be called in at any time after your 10 or 34 hour reset to work - basically swing shift.

In my opinion, there are much better LTLs to work at that aren't unionized. Fed Ex Freight (not Fed Ex Ground), Old Dominion, SAIA, Estes, and XPO. I'd definitely be looking into Old Dominion, Fed Ex Freight, and SAIA. SAIA just started their expansion in the northeast, and offer a lot of great benefits to their pay package (free insurance after 10 years of service, immediate vesting for their 401k).

I work for Old Dominion and am very happy. I'm not anti-union. There are simply better choices than ABF, UPSF, and YRC.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
In short, all the hype about unions in LTL is pretty much just that - hype.

I agree with most of what you said, except that statement right there. How can you say in one breath that your salary is what it is because your competitors are unionized, and in the next breath say the unions are all hype? You know for a fact you'd be making maybe 60% of what you're making right now if the other companies in your sector weren't unionized, and that day may be coming sooner than later.

So it's not hype at all. If those unions go away or continue to lose their strength, your salary is going to drop like a rock.

Now you can say that someone in the LTL sector doesn't have to work for a union shop to do well, and that's true, for now. But don't call the unions "hype" and don't pretend you have the same job protections they do. You don't.

A good example of this is the factories around Buffalo, NY. They used to have a strong union and pay started at $29/hr. The unions, in the few places they still exist, have lost their power and now new employees start at $14/hr. The old union guys that still remain on high salary are being run into the ground in hopes they'll quit, and many of them have.

With the loss of factory blue collar jobs overseas, and more freight being given to non-union general carriers, the unions aren't being given a choice but to back down in many sectors if they want to keep any blue collar jobs in this country at all. And if they continue to back down, your salary is going to go with it you can be certain.

I wouldn't have said anything if you wouldn't have thrown in that statement about unions being hype. You were right about most of what you said but then you veered off a cliff at the end there.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

It's hype because you don't need to go to a unionized LTL to get the benefits of the wages - exactly as I said. Hype by its definition is some sort of exaggerated claim of benefit, perhaps even an exaggerated promotion of sorts. Unionized LTLs don't have an edge over the non-union shops. And it's certainly hype to assume that you have to go to a unionized LTL to reap the benefits of higher wages. I'm under no misguided notions that I haven't benefited from the presence of union in LTL, but I don't need to work at a union shop to enjoy the higher wages. You've got nothing to argue about here Brett. I'm of the same mind.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier
6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

I also don't agree with your claim that if the unions went away, LTL salaries would decline. I understand why you would say that, but I believe that would be improbable. I don't know of any nation-wide trucking company that has dropped it's wages. Have they kept up with the times? No. But do you know of any that have actually rescinded and dropped their wages? I don't.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I also don't agree with your claim that if the unions went away, LTL salaries would decline. I understand why you would say that, but I believe that would be improbable. I don't know of any nation-wide trucking company that has dropped it's wages. Have they kept up with the times? No. But do you know of any that have actually rescinded and dropped their wages? I don't.

When adjusted for inflation, which is what matters, wages have dropped over 50% since the early 90's in trucking. I made about $40,000 my first year in 1993. First year drivers are making about the same today, but adjusted for inflation they'd need to make about $68,648 in order to have the same buying power today, according to this Inflation Adjustment Calculator.

And I stand firmly behind my statement that your wages would drop drastically. Think about it. You have a gravy job. Who the heck wouldn't want to run back and forth from terminal to terminal pulling no-touch freight five days a week and be home every night? Most drivers in America would jump at that opportunity. Your salary would be in the $50k range in a heartbeat if the unions went away. They wouldn't have to pay crap to get people to sign up for a gravy run like that. Drivers would be flocking in droves.

It's all about supply and demand. The demand for those jobs is really high, so the pay wouldn't have to be. The unions are keeping the wages much higher than they would be in that sector.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

Right, wages certainly haven't kept up with the times.

I hope you're wrong about your conjecture with LTL wages being slashed if unions went to the wayside. I don't see it happening, so I'm not worried about it.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

It's not at all conjecture. My opinions are based on sound business principles. I'm not hearing anything other than wishful thinking on your side.

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

As I mentioned, I understand why you made your statements, but for me it's conjecture because I've never seen a trucking company rescind or decrease wages. An established, national trucking company, to my knowledge, has never actually decreased its wages. Keeping up with the times is something entirely different. I don't see my cpm being slashed if unions went away. I don't think that's wishful thinking. I already have a higher cpm than some union LTLs. My non-union company isn't simply trying to keep up with union shops. If the unions went away at UPSF, ABF, NEMF, and YRC, I just don't foresee my cpm suddenly being slashed. That would be extremely drastic.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

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