Trucking And Unionization...

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Kevin B.'s Comment
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So I found this article while reading through a Conservative online publication called, The Federalist. The article in question talks about the budding movement to get the Biden administration, and possibly just the Federal government, to unionize trucking. Now I don't know how exactly government unionizes trucking, that's usually left up to the individuals at a particular company or a larger group of individuals within a particular industry.

Within the article in summary, it starts with a trucker who's living in a bad neighborhood and can barely support himself and his family. After some back story on the movement and what not, the article goes on to talk about the counter point of view that trucking is already more than sufficiently regulated and in fact over regulation is stifling the industry and the costs of which are passed along ultimately to the consumer in the way of higher prices. I think we can all agree that the industry needs some regulation to protect individuals within the industry and the public at large. But am I wrong in saying that at times gov't, even well meaning, sticks their nose in where it doesn't belong? Also part of the counter point is another driver that works hard, is reasonably well off and remarks about how drivers are in fact already a pseudo-union in that with the upheaval in the industry companies have to meet driver's expectations - running good equipment, maintaining that equipment so the company and the driver can always be earning, paying a driver well to begin with and getting that driver loads that will pay, amenities and home time (I threw in the last two). I mean I've yet to pull the trigger and join the industry but if I am to believe the various advertisements that I see, various companies are offering signing bonuses of a few to several thousand dollars, paying nearly a dollar a mile in some respects and they'll tout their benefits and what their trucks have to offer (makes, models and onboard amenities) like it's a contest of who's got the best all just to lure in that driver. All of this they do because they know that if you the driver aren't happy with the company you're working for, you can very easily go somewhere else, in effect a pseudo-union with standards that you demand to be met.

https://thefederalist.com/2021/12/07/unionizing-truckers-will-only-make-the-supply-chain-crisis-worse/

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.
Mikey B.'s Comment
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I spent nearly 18 years as a postal worker, all as a union member and a good part of that as a union steward as well. I can say unequivocally that unions are the LAST thing truckers need. Need proof? Look at the inefficient and often money losing union trucking companies now. In the 50s and 60s unions were great and necessary, these days, not so much. Union drivers and workers in general (imho) are some of the least productive drivers/workers out there.

The new equipment being in top shape is not to satisfy drivers so much as it is to satisfy DOT. Besides, a broke down truck makes no money for the driver or the company. Don't fall into the trap of believing everything is done for the workers benefit.

Although true you can leave one and go to another (after you have some experience) you are fooling yourself if you thing it is with your demands being met. The fact is there are a lot of different personalities and a lot of different companies in this industry and the demand for drivers due to turn over means that jobs are easy to get as long as you have a clean record and experience however too many people wrongfully think that gives the drivers the power to demand more than is offered by a company. If you've been with a company and proven yourself valuable then you can often negotiate raises or a new rig.

Again in case you didn't catch it the first time around....WE DON'T NEED UNIONS. lol.

Yes the government often delves into that which doesn't need their "help", notice the quotes since their "help" is rarely helpful and never the cure. Personally I wouldn't trust the current administration with anything they propose as they seem to always have an ulterior motive behind everything they put out there.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

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.
Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
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MCA 1980 was specifically drawn up to break the stranglehold of the Teamsters on the logistics industry as a whole. Not only did they have a firm grip on the trucking side of things, they controlled ports and warehouses. If you weren’t a union member, you had to pay a fee to get into the port or warehouse and then they would determine the load a driver or small company would take. Sure, unions had their place and time but just like any entity in control, they got greedy and only the people at the top really benefited from h the labor of everyone else. They stifled competition and took a good idea and turned it into something ugly. Why in the world any politician would want to pursue this is beyond me unless the goal is to destroy it, which very well may be the case.

Old School's Comment
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I can't see the trucking industry being unionized. It is splintered in so many ways. It is like Humpty Dumpty who fell from the wall. there are so many pieces that it just can't be put back together again. That may be a silly way to say it, but there are just way too many independent operators and fractured different groups involved in this industry to ever expect it to be unionized. We have the benefits of the D.O.T. regulations keeping us in excellent equipment and not having to work like mavericks to make a dollar. Those things will continue, and we drivers will continue to reap the benefits from those governing bodies that insist on carriers being legitimate and safe.

You can always hear a lot of complaining from the under-performing members of the trucking industry. I have a lot of empathy for truck drivers. There are so many of them who just don't understand how to succeed at this. So many people are convinced that they have to own their own truck to make any money at this, and they are dead wrong. There are opportunities galore in trucking. You have to find your niche and make it work for you. Good solid company drivers can and do make a great living at this. To do good at trucking one must be good at trucking. There is so much more to this career than driving. Understanding the strategies and planning that enable you to be available for loads at the right time and executing your deliveries with flawless interruptions or knowing how to handle the interruptions in a way that helps you are critical components to a driver's success.

Unionization is not an answer to our struggles. Understanding the career and knowing how to conduct oneself in a way that makes this challenging career work are capital that few drivers ever invest in their careers. I made a study of the trucking industry so that I would understand how it works. I knew that if I understood how to conduct myself in my trucking job, I could make it be successful. I never count on my company or my dispatcher to make me successful. I do my best to make them successful, and that has given me an edge that has carried me through many years of success as a trucker.

Dispatcher:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
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I never count on my company or my dispatcher to make me successful. I do my best to make them successful, and that has given me an edge that has carried me through many years of success as a trucker.

That is a powerful statement, and for those who are new to trucking you might think, "Yeah, I'll bust my ass for my dispatcher and they'll just take advantage of me, like corporations always do. Why should I go to great lengths to please them? I'm the truck driver. I'm in demand and I'm out here moving the freight. They should be trying to please me!"

Totally fair point. Here is why Old School's statement works in trucking.

Trucking is one of the rare industries where everyone within the company is trying to accomplish the same thing. Everyone from the janitor to the CEO wants to move as much freight as possible. Why? Because that's how everyone in this industry makes their money.

Drivers, dispatchers, load planners, safety managers, upper management - you name it, almost everyone has their pay tied to the success of the company, which depends on the efficient movement of freight.

So the more freight a driver can move safely and on time, the more money everyone makes. That's why a driver who outperforms most will be treated better than most and make more money than most. You prove to dispatch and the load planners that you can get the job done, they'll keep you busy.

As far as unions go, the power of unions died as we started into the '80s or so. Interestingly enough, here is a chart showing the ratio of CEO pay to worker pay across the board. This chart isn't specific to trucking, it applies to all industries. The higher the blue bars, the more CEOs make compared to workers. Look what happened as unions lost their power:

0283028001639146149.jpg

I'm not saying we should have unions or unionize, but for those who dislike unions, I'd love to know what you think about that chart and what, if anything, should be done about it.

Do you think our society is getting better as we widen the gap between upper management pay and the rest of us?

Dispatcher:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Andrey's Comment
member avatar

I dislike unions, just as I dislike any other tools of socialist economics. In my opi ion, a private business owner must have every right to pay whatever he wants to his employees and himself. A free market is the only authority needed.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I dislike unions, just as I dislike any other tools of socialist economics. In my opi ion, a private business owner must have every right to pay whatever he wants to his employees and himself. A free market is the only authority needed.

I like what you're saying in theory, but capitalism has an Achilles heel - if left unchecked, it ultimately creates monopolies. That's just the natural evolution of scale in a free market. You grow and acquire new companies, you eliminate competition, and before long, you have too much power in the hands of too few and they begin to abuse the system. So there has to be a guiding force that prevents abuse.

So yes, if a market is truly free and fair, it will create incredible opportunities for everyone. But capitalist markets don't stay that way on their own. Inevitably you will have monopolies and abuses that must be reigned in. Unions did an awesome job of this for decades. They took incredibly unfair wages and unsafe working conditions and made them far more safe and fair for everyone. That's not socialism. That's just collective bargaining power.

Workers need to be protected from abuse. Fortunately, the unions pushed hard enough that many safety measures are now built into our laws. That reduced the need for unions to a degree, but what should we do about the growing divide between the rich and poor? It's a massive problem, and it's only getting bigger because it's running unchecked.

I love these conversations!

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

midnight fox's Comment
member avatar
That reduced the need for unions to a degree, but what should we do about the growing divide between the rich and poor? It's a massive problem, and it's only getting bigger because it's running unchecked.

That's interesting, the connection between unionization and CEO pay/wage inequality. I just read yesterday support for unions polls at 70% right now, the highest its been in decades. Multiple Starbucks locations look to be moving forward with unionizing, and Amazon might see it happen soon. It's possible this connection between the two is naturally tipping the scales back in the other direction again.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar
here is a chart showing the ratio of CEO pay to worker pay across the board. This chart isn't specific to trucking, it applies to all industries. The higher the blue bars, the more CEOs make compared to workers

Do you know if this chart is a comparison between only employees in the United States and their CEO's? Because if it takes into account employees working overseas for American companies, at much lower wages, that would also contribute to the widening gap.

It personally bothers me that companies can manufacture products using cheap labor overseas allowing them to spend outrageous amounts of money on advertising, which ultimately costs the American consumer nearly as much as if the products were made in the U.S. by well-paid American workers who would benefit from more job opportunities. Just a thought.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PJ's Comment
member avatar

I agree. I was a teamster for 3 decades. 80’s-2000’s. I watched as the good work they did shifted to nothing but greed. They became what they fought against for so long.

Ronald Reagan once said “the worst words to hear are I’m from the gov’t and here to help”.

The gov’t at all levels are the most inefficent business models in our society. Why???

Because they have too much power coupled with they are not spending their own money. They need more money, they just use their power to generate more. If individuals ran their household that way we would all be in jail.

Money is the root of all evil!!!

If you want the truth about most everything, all you have to do is follow the money!!!

I’ll shutup now. Rant over!!

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