Patrick (JoJo) Hockaday
I Will Not Condemn any Driver Based on Nationality, Political Affiliation, Color of Skin, or Religion.
We are all in this together and we must work together as a team to benefit as a team!
A Little Bit of My History and Thought
Twenty five years back, the old timers would tell this young buck how bad it was and how bad the pay was. They, We did nothing to change it. Today the trucks are nicer but by comparison the pay is really bad. Can I do something about it? Maybe not.
Today’s novice Drivers know something is wrong. They are unaware of how these regulations based on time have restrained their ability to earn. Their pride won’t let them see that they are making little to nothing as everybody knows that Truck Drivers make Big Bucks. Sure there are many who just give up as they have nowhere else to go, but, there are a whole hell of a lot more that truly want to be professional. How long will they think this way with the constant barrage of insults from brother truckers, the disrespect from the 4 wheelers, the abuse at the docks and the lies from the employers.
Six years now, running so close to legal it’s not funny. I am not operating letter of the law legal. I don’t start my book when I pull out of a parking spot and drive 150 yards to bump the dock. I start my book 4 hrs later when I leave the dock and get out on the public roads. How is a Letter Of The Law programed ELD going to take money out of my pocket? What about all of these Company OTR Drivers that THINK they are already using a letter of the law ELD.
Speed Limiters; Friends, I run a lot of LTL. If I have to leave with half a load because I can’t legally run the speed limit to make a delivery appointment??? What about the Company OTR Driver running hammer down always? They get busted, Maybe they get another job, just maybe! What do guys like me and you lose???
In JoJo’s Paper, I have laid out examples for establishing a MINIMUM pay scale that coincide with a graduated license based off of the current Federal Minimum Wage.
In the future, if this type of plan were in place, will the carriers reward those that demonstrate their abilities and make the company money?
Will they hold a worthy employee back?
Advance a Driver who is unworthy?
Passing skill test and gaining experience is worth something, earning at least the Minimum Rate for that level, if there was one.
Being a Documented (ELD monitored) goof off should result in termination.
Hmm, could a decent paying job be worth protecting?
The average wage for Drivers as stated many times on the radio is around $37,000.00 a year.
Who am I to judge Drivers when they are on their own time, how they dress on the docks and while fueling? After all, most Drivers are only being paid when they are driving.
How can the government regulate Drivers any differently, when they are on their own time, than anyone else who is not at work? Would any other workers allow themselves to be monitored when they are not being paid because they are on their own time? Would any other worker allow themselves to be told that they are tired and must take 10.5hrs break time if they are not at work?
If boss man is going to tell me what, when and how, boss man better be paying my ass!
Are Company OTR Drivers not at work when they are stationed to a co truck, away from home?
Can they use the truck as transportation while they are away from home?
Are they not responsible for the truck, trailer and load while away from home?
I’ve talked my talk with several small carriers. Their reply was “We’d love to pay our Drivers by the hour for all hours. We can’t do it unless they do it!”. In other words, because freight rates depend on labor rates they will remain low as long as labor rates stay low. Basically, companies can afford new high dollar equipment as the customers expect by paying their Drivers poorly.
Traditionally, Drivers earned about the same as a railroad engineer. Before you let the size of the train explain why, think about the duties of the engineer. He basically only has to start, stop and vary the speed according to the situation. He doesn’t have to navigate or steer because of the tracks. He doesn’t have to deal with traffic or the public. If he’s waiting, he’s being paid. He doesn’t have to worry about loading or hiring help. He doesn’t have to put fuel in. He has little paperwork as that’s the conductors job. You get my point. Engineers are currently earning 3+ times what a Driver is earning.
Twenty five years ago it was said that we should have been making $70,000 a year. Back in the day, we were making $30,000 to $40,000 a year, maybe a little less than some are today. Look at what todays dollar buys compared to yesterdays dollar.
I don’t know if minimum wage has kept up with inflation but I do know that Drivers wages have not even come close.
Based on a conversation he overheard, a friend believes that many of the beginning Company OTR Drivers are on food stamps.
Hmm, are we competing against carriers who are taking advantage of OUR tax dollars by allowing US to feed THEIR Drivers?
I hope my friend is wrong, maybe he didn’t hear it right, but, It will not surprise me if he is right.
What is the right thing to do?
Can we sit back and do nothing and allow their policies to over take us?
Is it wrong for us to expect them to pay for the policies they desire?
A co truck limited 3mph below the limit cost the Driver about .90 cents per hour at .30cpm. Could the carrier go into the shop and tell the mechanics they will be taking a .90 cent per hour pay cut and still have mechanics the following day?
How do we put things into perspective when we are most familiar working in a world where profit and expenses are based on mileage?
Why do we allow ourselves to compete against those who dictate the labor rate when all other industries have labor standards to follow?
We have a new way of doing things being forced upon us. We experienced Drivers are no better than a novice as prescribed by regulations. We are up against power because we don’t rally our power. We keep our noses out of others business because that’s what we want.
Will we soon be working for them because we are set in our ways?
Are they going to take us down because we do nothing to help the Company OTR Driver as they need to figure it out on their own?
Patrick Hockaday (JoJo)