Why Trucking is Struggling - 94% Turnover
And the port conditions of course.
More info in the supply chain.
If everybody is "an independent contractor " when they don't want to be, why are companies suprised when people dont show under adverse conditions?. Reminds me of an article at Utne reader, from 10 years ago, on distribution/warehouse workers.
For the past dozen years, Omar Alvarez has been a key link in the nations supply chain. Hes one of some 12,000 truckers who haul the containers from the adjacent ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach (where 40 percent of all the ship-borne imports to the United States arrive) to the immense complex of warehouses 50 miles east of L.A., where the goods are unpacked, resorted, put back on other trucks, and sent to all the Walmarts, Targets, and the like within a thousand-mile radius.
Alvarez works for one of the largest trucking companies at the ports, XPO Logistics, but XPO insists that Alvarez and his fellow truckers arent really employees. As far as XPO is concerned, theyre independent contractors and it treats them as suchthough they drive XPO trucks they lease from the company or its adjuncts and cant use those trucks for any other jobs. As independent contractors, they receive no benefits and arent covered by minimum-wage statutes. They must pay for their gas, maintenance, rig insurance, and repairs themselves; and, ever since the pandemic clogged the ports with more goods than ever before, theyve had to wait in lines for as long as four to six uncompensated hours before they can access a container and get it on the road. If they get in the wrong line at the port, they literally cant get out, surrounded by other trucks and doomed to waste more time. Many ports dont even provide bathrooms for waiting truckers, because they arent port employees.
According to a 2019 study by the Labor Center at the University of California, Berkeley, the median annual pre-tax income of Alvarez and his fellow port truckers, once their expenses are factored in, is a munificent $28,000.
We have no health insurance, Alvarez says. Like the majority of port truckers, hes an immigrant who doesnt qualify for Medicaid. When I need to see a doctor, he says, I drive [not in his truck] to Tijuana.
Perhaps one-fifth of port truckers actually are independent contractors; nearly everyone else is, like Alvarez, misclassified as independents. Over the past decade, dozens of lawsuits from misclassified drivers have resulted in judgments affirming that theyve been misclassified and awarding them compensation from the companies that misclassified them. XPO recently paid a $30 million fine to a large number of its drivers. But neither XPO nor any of the other fined companies have stopped misclassification. Its cheaper for them to pay a fine than to pay their drivers a living wage.
Not surprisingly, given the long waits and meager rewards, a lot of drivers have simply stopped showing up. According to Gene Seroka, the executive director of the Port of L.A., fully 30 percent of the ports 12,000 drivers no longer show up on weekdays, a percentage that rises to 50 percent on weekends. Once the waits exceed six hours, as they now sometimes do, drivers would run the risk of exceeding the 11-hour federal limit on trucker workdays if they then were to actually get a loadwhich means the port must turn them away, and theyll have spent an entire workday for no pay at all.
Trucking is a scam, they lure people into buying their own trucks, responsible for repairs and insurance, etc. They contract for long hours, and they get paid peanuts. One of the worse and most dangerous jobs in the US if you ask me (due to the number of hours driving).
I always thought it was a middle class lifestyle, while its hard work.
Nope, I was wrong and they get paid much less then I expected.
They got paid well with great benefits. But after Reagan, that all disappeared.
Know some folks whose family have/had generations doing this work. It used to be pretty good. Now it's better if you are working a local area, and going home at night. So the youngest switched to that.
I work for a big electric utility, still have to maintain a Class A CDL for my position but rarely ever drive a commercial vehicle these days. Had to take a random drug test (urinalysis) last week, testing is tracked by and required because of federal DOT regulations.
If some form of THC testing is eventually accepted that can reliably prove someone is not under the influence say within 12 hours of use, there might be some avenue to move away from the current zero tolerance standard.
coming from somewhere else?
Really long article, but at the very end it says thats what needs to happen. Protesting & unionizing, (like they did 70 years ago).
There are some legal suits happening in CA, basically if they "look and act like employees", call them such-- that misclassification violates the nation's labor laws.
Is this job worth it? Nope. Then not taking it.
People can make a good living doing it, especially in niche fields, either working for a company or as an independent.
BUT a large part of the industry is built around churning through entry level drivers as a business model, many do it a year or two then give up.
Long haul or OTR driving is the most common entry level job, it is seen by many as a stepping stone to get a better local/regional gig with a company and benefits. The better trucking jobs all require several years of experience, the only way for many to get experience is to work a crappy job for a few years.
Never a good sign when a company is always hiring.
picking up for the next 3 weeks, delivery service only. They blame COVID and no shows.