So why is it that truckers cannot seem to unite together? Every driver seems to wonder that. I was recently in Denver, CO at the TA and listened intently to the CB debate going on that night. it all made me wonder "why can't we?". Lets think of some reasons here. Politics? Racial Prejudice? Drivers that just do not care? From what I have heard it seems mostly to be politically fueled. Democrats, Republicans, Left Wing, Right Wing.

 

Currently we drivers are facing some major changes in the industry. These changes are more than likely the cause of agencies and departments seeking more revenue and/or control. I am a faithful listener to our one and only Roaddog Truckers Radio Station on the satellite radio. Seems that many truckers are involved with wanting to protect the future of trucking but I fear that only half of drivers are really aware of things and also just think that the problems will be handled by the different trucker organizations and nothing they say and do can effect any decisions made.

 

As truckers what is it that we can all relate too? Well we spend weeks and months from home. We are away from friends, family, children, and all loved ones while away on the road. We all experience loneliness and homesickness at times, We journey the country night and day through bad weather and good. Mostly we all want miles and to make a good living! A truck driver is a Professional Driver! WE ARE PROFESSIONALS. Why is it that some companies are paying us the same as we would if we worked at a warehouse at minimum wage? We want good benefits for us and our families. We want our children to have a good education. We work for a living to provide for our families so why can we not provide the money to our kids to pay for college? If things do not change soon we all will be driving for 0.15cpm or less.

 

Now what is going on behind the closed doors of FMCSA or the White House? I don't have a clue. I do know that all this political stuff is funded by corporations. Vote? these days what does that mean? Our future is effected by the decisions these politicians make. Everything has a connection. Fuel? Why is the price of Diesel rising. Why is the US Dollar decreasing in value? Did you know when the US Dollars value decreases fuel Rises in cost? And when our dollar starts to increase fuel prices lower? Everything is connected. We as truckers need to stick together. Is this going to happen? Most likely not except for a few. It does not matter if the driver has been driving for 30 years or 1 year. He is a driver. Some drivers say that they are doing well so they do not care about what the industry is doing. I feel sorry for them. Especially when our HOS changes and screws up what they thought was working for them. There was once a time when truckers made 6 figures a year. Very few do now. Your lucky to pull in $40,000 a year now in most cases.

 

Some drivers say lets go on strike. Some say that is dumb because for every trucker fired for going on strike there are 5 more students ready to take your place. That may be true. When I say strike. It does not mean weeks. Imagine 90% of all drivers shutting down for 24-34 hours at the same time. That would have a dramatic effect on the economy. Not enough to damage but to scare. Am I in support of this idea? Well if it comes to that, then yes. I was a Independent Contractor for about a year. I was paying out the ass for medical insurance. I tried to apply for Medicare and was denied. But the illegal family in front of me got all Medical, Food Stamps, Cash Aid, and all that approved and free to them! And here I am a trucker that works my ass off and pays into all these tax funds for medical and social security and I am denied. Some drivers say a revolution needs to happen in this country. But not just truckers say this. The government is an enterprise. And they are merging and expanding everyday. Citizens are now victims of the US Government and so are we truckers. My point is that we are all drivers. We all have opinions and differences. But we really need to all focus on our future as drivers. Contact the OOIDA for some good info. Or see their website. You have a voice, make it heard. The FMCSA has a phone line for certain topics waiting for your comments on a decision they are going to have to make. We as drivers do not have to be best friends. but we are co-workers on the highway and our "boss" is threatening  cost cuts, and stricter policies. Catch the drift?

 

We all talk shit to each other and use racial remarks on the CB Radio in that truck stop parking lot and highway. But it is funny when after we are parked and walking into that truck stop for some food, drink, or whatever. We hold the door open for each other. So why cant we all be "truckers" again and take care of each other, hep each other, and support or industry together?

 

This is my first blog. If you liked it let me know! Thanks.

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Comment by Rhett Butler on January 20, 2013 at 8:30pm

Ya know Mike H, nobody made the "big bucks" when they began driving unless they drove for Dad or Uncle What's His Name and bought their first truck with the "family discount". Much of what companies tell you is based on the miles paid for experience, suck you in and pay you beginner rates. It's a lot better than it was in the 1980's when most companies paid between $.22 - $.25/mile for loaded miles only. If you had to deadhead, well, just hope it wasn't more than 30-50 miles. Most major companies are now run by the kids of the original owners, went to college and learned the truth about how to turn a buck and keep their DOT records (now CSA scores) low by firing drivers that had accidents and replacing them with students that had a clean record. Drive off the experienced help, pay the new drivers the lower rate and their stockholders and shareholders get big smiles. Believe me, when I started out in this business as a driver 30+ years ago things were very different, there was a "you watch my back and I'll have yours" attitude among drivers that actually had to plan their own routes, fuel stops, ran a lot of back road/2-lane highways (Interstates were about 1/2 of the miles they are today) and had to use a PAY PHONE to call dispatch at least once a day. They parked the truck at the truckstop in a parking spot, not the fuel island, and there was COURTESY among everyone (mostly) behind the wheel. I think it also helped that company owners were also drivers and you never knew when you might run into the boss. You learned to drive from other drivers, not a school being taught by someone that couldn't make it as a driver and you learned to do more than shift, hold a steering wheel and back up. A man actually learned what being a PROFESSIONAL DRIVER was. Professionalism is sorely lacking in the industry today. A shutdown would work but only if there was true unity between the drivers. If everyone did it, nobody would get fired.....there simply are not enough qualified drivers to fill 2.5 million trucks in a 48 hour period. But it can't be just a handful, nor can it be just because a few has a bitch with their company, it has to be substantial that will make a difference across the entire industry like getting 1/2 of the rate companies charge for detention (most charge $30-$50/hr. while the driver gets $10-$15/hr) and not being harassed when they run out of hours sitting at Walmart's dock for 8 hours or being penalized for arriving 15 mins late due to the accident on the freeway or their being a second or third stop and getting tied up at another consignee. Don't give up, it's tough and cheap at first but if you prove your worth there is money to be made in trucking. You just have to find that company willing to take care of their drivers. I left a company I had been with for 5 years and the least I made while with them was $62,000 a year. I had transferred to AZ from MI with them but refused to relocate to CA when they moved the Phoenix office. After going around with several companies this past year (bringing home $550 - $600/wk) I landed a dedicated grocery route that is netting an average bring home of $750/wk. You can make a good living driving, but you have to pay your dues, have patience and refuse to give in.

Comment by mike h on January 19, 2013 at 5:14pm

I know I'm new to this trucking business but as far as politics, news, and media I keep up with it all. I only been driving for a month and I can see where you are coming from as far as only making min wage. I was promised .xx amount per mile.. Turns out that they only pay x amount per route miles and x amount per Odom. I'm not making as much money as I expected but I guess its a start. The truth is, I made more working at burger king then I do driving. As far as everyone shutting down for 24-34 hours, I don't think that will do much but get everyone fired.. When I went for my state test I've seen a ton of people testing from different schools.. Major companies aren't worryed about keeping drivers, they can easily replace drivers by someone right out of school. Being on the road I haven't ment any rude or hasty drivers but its different on the CB.. It would be nice to acually have drivers unit and come together but now and days living in America its all about looking out for yourself. If companys were less greedy then we would get paid more. That's pretty much all I have to say other then good post, it made me realize that my dreams of making big bucks isn't really there.

Comment by Tami Paulus on August 28, 2012 at 3:33pm

Unity lot depends on matching frequency. On a strike situation if some one is with strikers then they are united and if not then other party is said to be united. Never the less unity is there. Either they on strike or not.

Orange County Truck Service

Comment by Francisco Gomez on August 10, 2012 at 2:37pm

Unity is not necessarily uniformity! Congrats on putting it into words. We have a common interest; our livelihood! That and only that should be our catalyst for improvement of the industry regarding the position that drivers occupy within it. Drivers do the actual work that trucking gets paid for. Sure, there are other departments and they are all important; but at the end of the day, all their work depends on one person, the driver. If we can focus on what is universally important to ALL of us, and refrain from clouding the issue with all the other irrelevant issues, we can create unity among us and bust that hateful myth that says, "You can't get two drivers to agree on anything" Bull! Any driver who has ever earned my respect did so because he or she had common sense! Tudaloo and Happy trials! http://movingfreight.blogspot.com

Comment by dan bestfelt on August 5, 2012 at 11:13am

I also remember that shut down back in the 70s when I was driving for an owner op.I shut it down knowing I would probablely be fired.And yes I did get fired when I got back to the yard but the very next day he begged me to come back to drive for him,beings he could not find anyone with my experience and the fact he was loosing revenue with one of his trucks sitting idle.One good thing was he also payed me by the hour because I was hauling for a us mail carrier.They pay by the hour not mile and if I ever broke down they were at me toot-sweet to get me running again so there was no delay in getting the mail to the people.Thats another thing I miss now being retired after 32 yrs. out there.One thing I do not miss is the racism rather it be ethnic,or accent.I used to date a black girl back in high school when racism was at an all time high and neither one of us was prejudiced I was called nigger lover and she was called honky lover.I took her to our high school senior prom and held our heads up high letting other people know we were proud of each other.To this day we still keep in touch on our face book accounts.What a great blog I really enjoyed it

Comment by terry andersen on June 18, 2012 at 10:13pm

I think it is because we have no goverment body (no ticket or degree.  But I bet the educated would not be able to do what truckers do. After all look how the roads are designed in the industeral zone you still can not go around a corn with out braeking the law and most place the road are too nerrow for two truck to get past each other. People can get laws paced so the comerchal on your tv so the volume does not go up but do you thing we as trucker could get some laws in place to proteck us from the other driver that play games and have no care for your life let alone thier own. 

Comment by christian schlottmann on April 26, 2012 at 11:48am

Hey! Only had my CDL for 1.5 years only. I am a rookie. Try to learn new things everyday. I watch you "old timers" everyday out on the highways. Always trying to find a easier way. I spent $6000 for my CDL here in ontario. Got a certificate to prove it. The month i graduated the price went up to $8000 for a CDL. Guess what, they still have students lining up outside.

My point i am trying to make is, that with everything, i learn(ed) more on the highways then in school. Somedays i wish "old truckers" would come in to reduce the rose coloured glasses effect that was put on us by the school. Maybe us students should have done more research on "being a trucker" rather then signing on the dotted line for a CDL.

I hear a lot of "veterans truckers" over the CB bashing, ridiculing and downgrading us rookies. Why is that some "oldies" have that attitude? Whenever i had a problem that was truck related and i asked a "senior" for help / advise i got it. Sometimes i wish that the "oldies" would take a "rookie" under their wing, maybe then we could have that kind of "trucker bond" you are talking about.

on the flip side, i also am reminded at certain truck stops like it was at high school. Jocks on one side, nerds and geeks on the other etc etc etc..

But, if you ask me today, i would do it again in a heartbeat. I love my job and agree with your blog. Those are my two cents for what it is worth. Keep safe out there!

Comment by Rhett Butler on April 22, 2012 at 2:16pm

A trucker strike isn't a new idea but your points do have merit. Besides, if there are new drivers willing to take our spots, how many truck wrecks can a company survive? I once had a recruiter tell me drivers were a dime a dozen. I gave him a dime and told him to get busy hiring a dozen of them (he wasn't amused).

If every truck shut down for 34-48 hours how many would actually loose their jobs? They can't fire everyone, it would put them out of business. The average cost to open a file on a driver is in the neighborhood of $1,500-$2,000 per driver (medicals, drug tests, cost of orientation) to flat out fire every driver.

Problem is that most companies want drivers that won't think for themselves, obey what they are told and not question "fleet" or "driver" managers (a clever way to describe a dispatcher) that actually work for the driver finding them loads. Add that to the numerous stories of a driver stopping to help someone only to be beaten, shot or killed doing a good deed and it's no wonder there is more of an "all about me" attitude and not more unity within the industry like there was back in the 1980's and before. Used to be truckers looked out for each other regardless of political views or bigotry against a certain sex or race driving the truck next door.

I've been at this for better than 30 years and I remember when this was actually a fun job, made many friends, had barbeque's in the back row of the truckstops on Friday or Saturday nights and knew how to use a road atlas to route yourself from point a to point b. Seems like these days a drive is just supposed to drive the routes assigned to them, do what they are told, ask others how to get from Dallas to Omaha without knowing how to read a map and remain solitary, even towards other company drivers much less any driver.

Sad that much of the world views us as nothing more than trash throwing, aggressive, mobile factory workers with little intelligence or self respect. Even though any seasoned driver with more than 5 years experience knows these stereotypes are untrue.

Comment by Roy Wood on April 15, 2012 at 6:50pm

I think we need to set a date and about 200 points in the USA to meet and have a good time for all, like go on vacation for a week or two, 

Comment by holger Danske on March 24, 2012 at 10:18pm

I totally agree with u.

bin trucking for almost 25 years 6 of them in north America the rest in Europe.

I'm just a big smile when I see the job application u have to fill out by the companies in order to get a job as a driver .

First of all u have to have at least 2 years of driving experience not a bad deal but the 2 years has to be in north America ??? and why ? Driving a truck is driving a truck or not ?

When I came over here they wanted to put me on 4 weeks drivers training they wanted to teach me how to back up and how to drive a truck ? Ok so 18 years in a truck in Europe isn't enough training !!

then a medical check drug test , criminal record check fair enough. Then they want to know u history for the past 10 years ! Names and # for the companies u worked for how long u worked there and why u stop working for them ?? u'r filling out forms as if u want to work for the FBI or NASA hello guys !! i'm applying for a job as a driver where u'r gonna pay me $0.38 pm ???

take a look at the ads the companies put up

$ #### sign on bonus

safe driver bonus

mile bonus

fuel bonus

referral bonus

million miles bonus

( I don't need a bonus for doing my job just pay me decent from the beginning )

we value family and home time

( right just not my family and home time )

pay on time

(????)

lots of miles

( most of the companies I worked for over here if u spend 3 weeks on the road 1 of them was waiting for loads with out pay )

I know it's not just the companies fault they just do what they do because they can and they just do what they are best at … making money !! it's just as much our own fault because we just let things happen !

Yes we need to do something and we needed to do it for the last 25 years and we still need to do something in 25 years because it's just not gonna happen 98% of drivers are just gonna keep doing what they do and let big companies dictate how and when , there is always gonna be a john doe who can haul u'r load cheaper and faster then u . when everybody agrees on that now it's enough some one is gonna drive anyway !!

A strike is a good idea but first u need the word out u need Mr & Miss north America to know and understand whats going on, if u Launce a strike that nobody understand u just get people who don't drive to look down on u and be mad because they can't buy the stuff u didn't bring to the store. u don't spread the word over the CB like a lot of drivers seem to think. 

But before we start to blame everyone else we should start with our self, a lot of our problems are home made ! Or do you think that some dude in his office just because he's bored make up stupid rules ? Like the HOS, if we look at it the HOS are made to protect drivers so they are made for u not against u ! it won't take long for us to agree on that the HOS could be better and no I don't always stay within the HOS and no I don't have to run longer then my HOS allow me to in order to survive as an o/o and thats because just like Randy I don't run for cheap if they don't want to pay for my service they can just find somebody else and yes they will but when that somebody is belly up i'm still running , I can see the HOS are a pain in the ass and a problem for the o/o who run at any price and for some drivers but it ain't the fault of the HOS is a matter of what they get paid !!

i know as an o/o you have to be professional to survive but you need to be it as an company driver too !! I can just agree with Randy and how a lot of drivers act at the truck stop and how should anyone inside or outside the trucking world have any sympathize with them ? But the most sad part is that it seems like we lost our pride ! Where is the pride of what u do and how u do 

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