Best (?) LTL Carrier For Linehaul

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andhe78's Comment
member avatar

I'm with the teamsters, and honestly don't get the hype about unions.

First off, I did not take the job because of the union, it just offered me the exact same shift and days off my wife have, so was a good fit when I wanted to come off the road and spend more time with the family. This job is also different in that all drivers do the same work for the same pay, so there is no bidding for routes and seniority means absolutely nothing.

The only good thing about the union is the health benefits-extremely good benefits and very cheap for the drivers. There is no pension, and we have many 20+ year drivers whose retirements were ruined when it went bankrupt. We now have a 401k offered through the company (and while the company match is the best I've ever seen, that has nothing to do with the union.) Also, while the pay is good, it's not all that much more than what non union guys are making in the same type of work. Back in the day, the union may have been a powerhouse that could get workers higher wages, etc., but now days it seems to be more interested in collecting dues and politics.

The downsides for me: since we're paid hourly, guys who milk the job can actually make more than those who work efficiently (so annoying that there are guys who cannot do a ten hour run in less than fourteen hours, and there's nothing that can be done about it.) The grievances that are filed with the union over petty things can get way out of hand too.

The long and short of it for me-I'm very happy where I'm at, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the union. I'd never take another union job.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Banks's Comment
member avatar

You can go Union if you'd like, that's a matter of opinion.. The problem you'll encounter is that they rarely hire and when they do they want at least one year experience.

The only LTL carrier that I know that will train you is FedEx Freight. It's how I got my start almost a year ago. You'll start on the dock, run when they need you to and build your seniority from there. Currently, because of COVID, their training program is suspended indefinitely and they are not hiring anyone anywhere.

As for money, I was on track to make 60k my first year but that hit a wall hard when freight levels dropped. That's 60K my first year at the lowest pay rate. My hourly rate is 23.08 and my mileage rate is 0.5495 CPM. Medical and dental run me 20 a week for my son and I and it's decent coverage. Current top rate, which is your third year, is 29.58.per hour and 0.6888 CPM.

As for home time, its like everywhere else. The guys that make the most are working 70 hours in 5-7 days. I usually work 6 days and some weeks I work 7. My Mon-Fri is typically spent on the dock with a set start and end time. My 6th and 7th day is voluntary and I'm running linehaul. Day 6 and 7 is a good chunk of my earnings. I try to do them whenever I can, but sometimes somebody with a little more seniority will come along and need some extra money and take those voluntary runs. It's the nature of the beast.

The only Union guys I know work at UPS Freight. They require 1 year experience and start at 17.05 per hour. They top out at 29.05 per hour at year 4. My buddy makes 0.72 CPM , but I don't know the pay progression there.

Hope this all helps. Good luck.

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

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.

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.
PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the daily chuckle, Roger.

rofl-2.gifrofl-2.gif

Roger P.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the daily chuckle, Roger.

rofl-2.gifrofl-2.gif

No idea what I said that was funny, but I'd love to be clued in.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Yup..."no idea".

Roger have you looked at the job postings on the ABF and YRC websites? I suggest you invest time with both of them, if you haven't already.

That said, ABF wants 12 months of experience for the numerous driver jobs listed (most are P&D and not something any rookie should attempt) and likely you will be spending more time than not schlepping freight on their docks because you will be lowest man on the totem pole. Of the two, YRC seems to be the friendlier when it comes to entry-level drivers; they offer CDL training (at least that's what is on their website), but again you will be working on the dock a good bit of time. Is that the best way to gain valuable driving experience? Although somewhat rhetorical, I'll let you answer that...

Honestly not concerned personally what you think Roger, but your "nuts" comment was way out of line considering you were seeking advice and help. Bad form...really bad.

That said:

- Right now I know several LTL Union guys who are not working. I am Non-Union and busier than I've ever been. They sit, while I drive. Does that make me "nuts" Roger? For over 7 years Swift has treated me like gold. Although it was earned; I state this because Swift is the darling of the "internet bashers"; basically failed drivers flapping their gums, ducking personal accountability and "running" their former employers "through".

- Secondly, and perhaps more relevant in the long run, I have never, ever witnessed or know of a non-union driver being let-go "without just cause". And usually (unless drugs or alcohol is involved) after multiple events. Do you really think a union shop will allow you to continue driving or continue gainful employment after a failing a random, or multiple rookie-like citations/infractions/events, or plowing into the back of a mini-van? I am not going to answer that either (lest you think I am "nuts")... Suffice it to say however, the job protection you assume you'll be getting in a union shop (as a rookie no less) might be very different than the reality you perceive. I suggest looking a lot deeper.

Your best entry point into this business is right here: Paid CDL Training Programs

Like I have already suggested, trucking is different and your reply basically proved my point.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar

I'm not sure a union company will be as great as you think it is, YRC the largest union carrier has been on the brink of bankruptcy for at least 10 years. ABF from the little I know about them is a good company. I have a bit of a anti union bias both of my grandfathers lost most of their pensions to different trucking unions.

I run linehaul for Old Dominion, when I started here 2.5 years ago I was paid $25 a hour or 55 cpm , which was more than USF Holland who is part of YRC starts at. Now I'm at 69 cpm and $30.50 a hour between becoming top scale in 2 years and our yearly raise. We have 2 insurance plans one is free for employees and then pretty cheap for family. All with out a union.

As for "respect" I'm not sure what that means, I almost never hear from management no one breaths down my neck. I along with my co-workers feel our job is secure nobody walks around looking for drivers to fire, since I've been here 3 drivers have been fired and I doubt a union would have saved them. 1 was fired for having multiple accidents, 1 for stealing and 1 for refusing a drug test.

Personally I feel like I am treated well, my paycheck clears and nobody bothers me. Not sure you can ask for more.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar

I forgot to mention, as far as I know all the major LTL companies at one point offered some sort of dock to driver to program but right now freight volume is way down and there have been some lay offs so I would assume most of them have suspended it for now. As Mr. Banks said Fed Ex as and I know OD has a hiring freeze and probably won't need any trainees for awhile.

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
Roger P.'s Comment
member avatar

Yup..."no idea".

Roger have you looked at the job postings on the ABF and YRC websites? I suggest you invest time with both of them, if you haven't already.

I have. Looking at job postings in the middle of a nationwide shutdown doesn't seem to me to be indicative of what the climate is like more generally and I'm looking for a year down the road. So I asked some questions.

That said, ABF wants 12 months of experience for the numerous driver jobs listed (most are P&D and not something any rookie should attempt) and likely you will be spending more time than not schlepping freight on their docks because you will be lowest man on the totem pole. Of the two, YRC seems to be the friendlier when it comes to entry-level drivers; they offer CDL training (at least that's what is on their website), but again you will be working on the dock a good bit of time. Is that the best way to gain valuable driving experience? Although somewhat rhetorical, I'll let you answer that...

I don't mind working on a dock for a bit to get in the door.

Honestly not concerned personally what you think Roger, but your "nuts" comment was way out of line considering you were seeking advice and help. Bad form...really bad.

You're obviously very concerned as you won't stop bringing it up. It didn't even occur to me that you were going to take this so personally, man.

That said:

- Right now I know several LTL Union guys who are not working. I am Non-Union and busier than I've ever been. They sit, while I drive. Does that make me "nuts" Roger? For over 7 years Swift has treated me like gold. Although it was earned; I state this because Swift is the darling of the "internet bashers"; basically failed drivers flapping their gums, ducking personal accountability and "running" their former employers "through".

- Secondly, and perhaps more relevant in the long run, I have never, ever witnessed or know of a non-union driver being let-go "without just cause". And usually (unless drugs or alcohol is involved) after multiple events. Do you really think a union shop will allow you to continue driving or continue gainful employment after a failing a random, or multiple rookie-like citations/infractions/events, or plowing into the back of a mini-van? I am not going to answer that either (lest you think I am "nuts")... Suffice it to say however, the job protection you assume you'll be getting in a union shop (as a rookie no less) might be very different than the reality you perceive. I suggest looking a lot deeper.

Coming from a union family I think there are two kinds of workplaces: The kind where you have absolutely zero rights, just the goodwill of your employer, and a union shop. I'm not worried about the union having my back because I can't pass a drug test or I keep crashing into stuff. Forgive me if I want something to protect my job beyond the goodwill of my employer.

Your best entry point into this business is right here: Paid CDL Training Programs

Like I have already suggested, trucking is different and your reply basically proved my point.

I have spent the last week reading everything there. I'm not really sure what your point is or how I've "proved it."

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.

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.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Roger P.'s Comment
member avatar

I forgot to mention, as far as I know all the major LTL companies at one point offered some sort of dock to driver to program but right now freight volume is way down and there have been some lay offs so I would assume most of them have suspended it for now. As Mr. Banks said Fed Ex as and I know OD has a hiring freeze and probably won't need any trainees for awhile.

Appreciate your perspective about OD. All good information.

I am looking to enter the industry around August of next year around the time that my kid starts school, so "a while" is fine.

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
Roger P.'s Comment
member avatar

Oh yeah, Bobcat Bob: Is it true that you don't get OT at OD until 60 hours? If so, how does this impact your feelings about pay there?

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