Is It Good To Work For Unions ?

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6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

Thanks a ton 6. I wanted some insight before I went in to interview with upsf, but didn't have the chance. Their entry level line haul paid 43 cpm to start and 17.50 or so for city. However they had a bid coming up on the 1st of July and said that I could be moved around if a more senior driver bid on my position. Is that normal? Also, any idea what the starting rates are at saia?

OD is .6378 for northern miles, .6328 for southern. I heard SAIA is at .64 cpm. Currently SAIA is a dollar behind OD for P&D , but SAIA is expecting a pay increase, as is OD.

Seniority at UPSF is tricky because P&D and linehaul drivers can swap sides without losing seniority - they only have one seniority board. SAIA is the same, so I heard. At OD, you lose your seniority as a linehaul driver if you go to the city side.

It's generally tougher to hold on to runs when you have more drivers that can bid for the same run. Anytime there's a re-bid, seniority wins out. That's the name of the game in LTL.

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

P&D:

Pickup & Delivery

Local drivers that stay around their area, usually within 100 mile radius of a terminal, picking up and delivering loads.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers for instance will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Line Haul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Pitkin's Comment
member avatar

Thank you.I will definitelly look into it after my summer job.

C T.'s Comment
member avatar

OK I understand that about seniority. Any particular reason you're not a fan of upsf? I have a family member at UPS that's doing well, not sure how upsf stacks up.

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

OK I understand that about seniority. Any particular reason you're not a fan of upsf? I have a family member at UPS that's doing well, not sure how upsf stacks up.

1. You're on call when you start. You might start 'wild' or on the extraboard at any LTL for linehaul , but being by that phone and expected to be ready to work at any time once your 10 is up can be demanding. It's basically swing shift. At Old Dominion, our wild drivers at least work the same 5 days a week and are given the same window of 2-4 hours every evening (or morning if on day shift) when they can expect a phone call from dispatch for their options on the night. When I ran wild, I always got my call between 7-8 am (I worked day shift).

2. It takes a while at UPSF to earn top rate. At Old Dominion, it takes two years. UPSF also has a lot of pay increases because they start so low compared to when you reach their top rate.

3. The pension is unstable. Google union pensions and you'll see lots of articles about how union drivers who have retired keep getting their pensions reduced. That's not what they originally bargained for. 401k is more reliable.

4. UPSF, like some other union shops, outsources a lot of their freight to owner operators and truckload companies. It's pretty rampant. It's a lot cheaper for the company to give the freight to drivers other than their own. It never used to be as prevalent as it is now.

5. I don't like being forced to join a union, or to pay union dues.

I think there are better options than UPSF. You can be successful there, and make some good money once you're top rate and have enough seniority for a bid run. But, if I had to leave Old Dominion for some reason, I'd be knocking on the doors of SAIA, Fed Ex Freight, or Estes. If I had to choose between UPSF, ABF, NEMF, or YRC, I think I'd look at UPSF or ABF. That mandatory percentage give back at YRC is complete garbage.

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

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

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.

Pitkin's Comment
member avatar

6 string rhythm are all or most of LTL job night shifts or after while you might switched to day shifts?

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
Pitkin's Comment
member avatar

Just read your story about your LTL job so I got the answer to my question.But you said,you got lucky because LTL companies usually wont' hire students out of school.So best way to find out is to call but there is a chance no one will hire me right?

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
Bud A.'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.

The way trucking salaries decline (and they definitely have since the 70s and early 80s, which is the last time there were trucking strikes) is one or a combination of several ways.

One thing that happens is some big union company goes belly up. Or several big union companies. Some of those drivers will retire but a bunch will be looking for a new job. They'll come on to your company at a lower rate than you did, because they've got bills to pay.

The company now has much less incentive to give pay raises. Where are you going to go? The market consolidated and there are just as many drivers who want the jobs but no union company paying outrageous amounts because they went broke doing it.

Oh, you quit? Even better. Now the overall cost to move freight just went down for the company because your pay was higher than the new guy's who replaces you.

So you're stuck hanging onto a job that is never going to give you a raise, or you go somewhere else and do something different and the new guys are paid less than you were.

That's how companies cut their pay.

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.
Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar

And it's not just trucking. Iowa and other midwestern states are full of packing houses that employ illegal immigrants now instead of the union folks that worked there 20 years ago. The benefit to you is that meat prices haven't kept pace with inflation generally. But that's a ton of blue collar jobs that pay a whole lot less than they used to.

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

I understand your points Bud. The one point I was trying to make is that I don't see OD or any other LTL lowering their already established wages, or offering lower starting wages to new employees if the unions go away. I just don't see that happening. I could see a pay raise freeze happen. And over time, that would certainly be equivalent to a reduction in wages as the cost of living continues to rise.

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 understand your points Bud. The one point I was trying to make is that I don't see OD or any other LTL lowering their already established wages, or offering lower starting wages to new employees if the unions go away. I just don't see that happening.

You don't see it happening, and yet it happens all the time. It's been happening in just about every blue collar industry in this country since the 80's. I just gave you an example of a plant in Buffalo that used to pay $29/hr and now they pay $14, and that's one of about 1,000 plants like that. Why do you think they call the Northeast and the upper Midwest "The Rust Belt?" Because it's loaded with old, rusted out dead factories that used to pay great money. Generations of people were raised on those awesome wages and benefits, and now they're all gone.

Do you think anyone saw any of that coming? And in fact it never should have happened.

What do you think Bruce was singing about?

Now Main Street's whitewashed windows and vacant stores
Seems like there ain't nobody wants to come down here no more
They're closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks
Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain't coming back
To your hometown

Bud just gave you an example from a completely different industry, the packing business, where wages used to be high but aren't anymore.

The bottom line is simple. Your job isn't going to go away, but your job pays 50% more than almost any other trucking job in the country for one reason only - the unions. That's the one and only reason and that's not an opinion, that's a fact. And when the unions are gone, so is the one and only reason for your company, or any of the others in your sector, to pay 50% more than anyone else in the industry is paying.

You're home every night, you don't touch any freight, and you just shuttle trailers between terminals. Why would that pay more than any other trucking job out there? It shouldn't. And you know it, and I know it, and the people who run LTL companies know it.

Trust me, millions of families throughout the rust belt didn't want to see it coming either. Detroit, Buffalo, Cleveland, and many other cities are half dead now when they used to be some of the most thriving cities in the country. I lived through it when my dad and most of my extended family lost their jobs in the 80's. So you can call my personal life experiences conjecture if it makes you feel better about the long term prospects of your job. But I know first hand what happens when the unions lose their strength and you will too if it ever comes to that.

And I'm not being hostile in the least. I'm just telling you what I know from my personal life experiences.

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.
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