OK, my burning hate for lobbyists is kinda raging right now. We have these guys up in D.C. wineing and dining politicians, causing chaos with little oversight until they get the wrong one mad at them. Well, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) – those crusaders for the Mega-Carriers are at it again, trying to put rose-colored glasses on the driver turnover issue. Oh, where’s my flamethrower, time to roast some opinions.
“In many respects, high turnover is an indicator of driver empowerment. When the labor market tightens, drivers find themselves in the driver’s seat (pardon the pun), putting millions of hard-working men and women in control of their own destiny in ways they haven’t been in years, if ever.”ATA
All right, we have known for a few decades turnover is a big problem at the Megas. Truckers Report had this to say back in 2010. Non-dedicated fleets are at or over 100% flipping rate, with some fleets hitting 200%, maybe 300%. “WHY SO HIGH?!?” you ask. Time to do some shopping, job shopping more precisely.
“What does this mean for “turnover”? Driver A, who’s been working for a fleet for only four months, knows he can jump to another carrier and get an immediate $15,000 sign-on bonus plus pay raise. Six months later, he can do the same thing again. This churn—or poaching, or whatever one wants to call it—is what inflates turnover in a tight labor market.”ATA
A big attraction for drivers is that sign-on bonus. For most, the bonus is the same or more than you’ll take home in a paycheck after taxes. Yes, there are contracts and commitments (usually 12 months), but what is the incentive to stay after the payouts are over? What does the carrier provide to keep the drivers in the seat? Pay raises are barely visible on paystubs. My advice, pay your drivers more than enough to raise a family with, not the usual minimum wage.
The other major factor on drivers’ minds when job hunting is HOMETIME!!! We’re trying to raise a family here. Kids need to see their fathers and mothers. Having just 34 hours a week, if that, is not enough. Two weeks out, two days in is the common timeframe enterprise fleets use. I know, I’ve worked for five of them, and they all used the same formula. That is why there was a big surge in solo-small trucking owner-operator growth – THEY WANT TO GO HOME!!!
So what should we do, you ask??? Raise drivers’ base pay to be competitive with UPPER MIDDLE class workers, at least $75K to $125K for starters, according to the requirements. I’d expect haz-mat and speciality hauling to pay even more. Build your workforce for more hometime. Yeah, I know companies pay taxes, but treat your drivers by name, not by that number you give us when we fill out the application.
I have a feeling this will be a big issue for the next couple of months (going into the Summer Stocking Season). Will fleets pump up pay rates to get the job done, then cut pay to force turnover so they don’t have to layoff, pay unemployment, and look bad for cutting jobs during the holidays? Also, will we see another big push by ATA for driver- facing dash cams? I mean do they want us to make an OnlyFans account using that footage???
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