I wanted to take the time to introduce the web site R.E.A.L. Women in Trucking. It was born as a result of what I saw lacking elsewhere and it has most certainly set the stage for what is to come.
In an effort to provide free self-help resources for fellow truckers & prospective student truckers the site is a place we can help ourselves to overcome obstacles in the trucking industry and network to others.
Social media has been amazing to get my story out and it has drawn other organizations concerned with workplace bullying to take an interest in the way truck drivers are treated and trained.
I have also been working on locating other useful links to use for research and employment law information.
Being “REAL” as opposed to unreal is about as plain as I can say it but I wanted to take it one step further by making the word “REAL” an acronym for what the mission is all about.
R. – Reaching Out
E. – Encouraging Others
A. – Achieving Personal Success
L. – Leadership
There is very little guidance by the trucking industry leaders or organizations to assist student truck drivers going from CDL School to their training carriers so that they can become successful, safe truck drivers.
The internet is full of misleading ads and the plethora of associations and organizations make it all the more confusing because they are not being clear on what their true income base relies upon. Advocacy, insurance sales, recruiting? It seems like everyone is trying to sell you the magic potion for a problem they have a hand in creating. That is why this industry is so shady.
For experienced drivers and students alike, being sold your personal safety , your job security, your chance to sleep comfortable & safe, your ability to protest erroneous information placed on your DAC report. It becomes a full time job in itself to keep up with it all.
As you become educated on this industry you begin to see that each obstacle has a smiling snake oil salesmen ready to sell you a remedy, it does not take long to see that problems created for drivers are another inner industry which are meant to get every nickel back from you that you worked so hard to make.
It takes a lot of effort to sort the good information from the heaps of garbage on the internet about becoming a truck driver and how to fight back.
As I have met other veteran women truck drivers I found that they are nothing like the few I encountered from other organizations who sought only to argue and stalk me around the internet.
I found instead that REAL Women Truckers who have huge hearts, they work hard, live quietly and mind their own business. Many have kept their lips zipped about some terrible things they have seen out here but they are eager to be recognized and see this industry clean up its act.
In speaking to some of these women I found the same topics popping up. Some of these gals have been driving since the seventies and started as teenagers learning from their Fathers.
One thing they would like to see changed is how women in the trucking industry treat them.
In my own story I encountered women who had the power to treat drivers fair but chose not to and what these veteran women drivers share is the same power issue.
Discussing various scenarios it seems to stem from a couple different things. We need to understand that a woman who works in-house is probably getting a good deal of male attention because this is male dominated industry. After awhile, an immature woman might think she is superior to other women because she’s being told what a sweetheart she is all day.
There are a number of issues when in-house affairs with superiors or students begin to spill onto the driving population because these people start to become intoxicated with themselves and this can create a hostile atmosphere. They have created an intimate atmosphere in the workplace and everyone else is having to suffer because of it.
The self-confidence of a woman trucker is undenieable but when unintentionally caught in the crosshairs of an in-house ego trip there is going to be a clash. Women in support positions can and do retaliate to show superiority electronically or verbally.
There are women in the trucking industry who seem to want to treat women truckers as substandard and this needs to change.
These hostile work situations are common with women as the try to compete with each other in male dominated industries. What they should be doing is working together and leave their egos aside. This idea was the inspiration for the post I made called “Wild West Women”.
Touching on our human nature to point fingers and pass judgment on everyone else who does not eat, pray and love like ourselves inspired me to write “Bring It On – Ethics in Sexual Harassment Training ” which by the way is almost non-existent in the trucking industry yet violence against women during their training period is ridiculously high.
When I say sexual harassment I do not mean someone saying you have a nice ass at a truck stop. I mean being put on a truck to learn to drive with someone who tries to badger or force you to have sex with them in order to learn to drive the truck. I am talking about trainers who say they will not let you pass if you do not have sex with them. I am talking about dispatchers who call you for phone sex while you are driving all night and withhold miles if you don’t comply. I am talking about companies who retaliate on women drivers when they report these acts and protect the predators.
Many of these trainers have had multiple complaints and the carriers do little if anything to protect other women from being victimized. Having a trainer who is jacking off while watching you drive or jacking himself off while he drives, this is what I am talking about. I AM NOT talking about another driver calling you “Honey”!
When a female student returns to her trainers truck from a shower, she should not have to worry that her trainer will be lying on the bunk with a hard on telling her to suck his cock! She should also not have to worry about being left in the desert which it seems everyone knows is common but no one does anything about it. WTF? These things also happen to male students so it’s not only because women are in a male-dominated industry. It’s because there are sexual predators who have been thriving in mega-fleets that train students who are fresh meat. It is because students are off-guard because they believe their companies are run by professionals, they do not enter these carriers expecting this conduct but perhaps they should.
Co driving teams can be just as dangerous because probelms drivers are recylced back into the driving population when they too have had multiple complaints of violence or sexual misconduct against them. Students should be made clear that the truck IS NOT theirs and they may not throw one another off because one has a temper tantrum when they are getting nowhere trying to make a pass for sex. Screaming at or berating your co-driver is not acceptable and when it is time to get off the truck the carriers should not delay or they themselves are the guilty party should a trajedy occur.
This language is strong on purpose! This is what goes on and when you are all alone 2000 miles from home in a truck, isolated with no one to call for help and someone does these things to you it is frightening and it is a violation of your human dignity but unfortunately the term sexual harassment brings out all the apologists who are afraid we might look weak if we say anything.
Ray LaHood and Oprah Winfrey have no idea what distracted driving is until they have ridden along to see what goes on at our government funded truck driving training carriers.
Another thing I found about real women truckers is that many have come from some sort of abuse in their past. Either as children or abusive spouses and they desire to work alone and be in charge of their own lives. Truck driving is such a confidence booster for a woman.
If you have ever had your face kicked in by the steel toed boot of a man you thought loved you know what I mean. Having someone brainwash you into believing that you could never amount to a hill of beans and then becoming a professional driver of an 18-Wheeler! Well FUCK OFF! RIGHT?
This is not to say that women truckers hate men, most still hold the hope they will meet someone who can accept their independence and understand how hard they fought to have the courage to take the risk.
Once you have tasted this kind of freedom it is very hard to let someone control your life again and it’s very hard to find a man who can refrain from putting his two cents in where it is not needed.
That’s not man-hating, its self-confidence and some people DO NOT like that in a Woman.
Sherry Yielding Brown is one real women trucker I was lucky enough to meet when she drove to meet me in Hamilton, Alabama. She was driving double wide manufactured homes as a teen on back country roads.
Sherry told me about her 20 year trucking career and her very short stint as a company driver for one of “The Big Nine” saying what a joke it was. She retired from the open road in 2005 now works in Safety & Operations for a small company who values their drivers. In her spare time she works on the Marion county domestic violence task force and she is a bead weaver.
I have met a number of women who are either formerly truckers or still driving who would like raise awareness about violence against women in the trucking industry in order to expose those who do it and those who cover it up.
The Dan Rather Report Series into trucking stretched into a four part series is based on CLUES I intentionally put in my student trucker story as a civilian entering trucking.
The show titles are “Queen of the Road”, “Truck Talk”, “Mind Your Loan Business” & “Haul or High Water” they can be viewed by going to the iTunes Store and Searching up “Dan Rather Reports”, each episode is $1.99.
The original unedited story is on the web site “Ask the Trucker” and it is called “A Day in the Life of a Lady Trucker”. The back-story and commentary of the attempted cover-up is here on the “Trucker Desiree” site but portions are included in the 3 part Q & A of Ellen Voie on R.E.A.L. Women In Trucking.
That series was born of a 2rd generation trucker by the name of Heather Rose who wanted to hear more after viewing the “Raw Sound Bytes from a Trucking Convention” video clip that had unfortunate remarks about Women Truckers.
The first post had so many comments I had to shut them down. By the time the second and third posts were up I was ready to become ill as I watched this organization dig themselves in deeper with uninformed and very hurtful remarks about women truckers.
Heather Rose was in a distressed living situation just as the series was launched. She has had very limited access to computers to see the fallout but her only wish like mine has been “will it help to make changes?”
I believe so because at this point denying what has been happening to the female driving population and denying that student females are recruited at nearly 20% when retention remains stagnate at 5 to 6% with all the evidence presented in this past year through social media I feel strongly that those with consciences are doing soul searching.
How far that will get us I am not sure because souls and conscience are not synonymous with the trucking industry.
Trying to come together as drivers for unity I have been happy to see so many men are joining our Facebook fan page called REAL Women Truckers , we have had only three troll attacks which is pretty good considering we post some very controversial issues.
In this process we have begun to draw more clear lines of who is seeking to divide us BUT continuing to deceive by selling themselves as unifiers.
One important item for all to note is the appeal for the CRST Sex Harassment Case was filed on November 30, 2009, you can read more about it by clicking HERE , Should this appeal fail the taxpayers will be left to pay the enormous $4.5 Million in attorney fees.
This should make every American very angry and I should hope take action to see these government funded trucking companies be held accountable for their poor training and personal safety standards.
As we begin to see that workplace bullying legislation may apply to workplace bullying organizations like trucking we can start examining other tools to fight back such the NEW “Sexual Harassment Registry” from our Twitter friends @eBossWatch .
Educating ourselves on trucking employment law will also help drivers find resources to correct false DAC reporting, locate trucking whistleblower information, find information for refusal to drive in unsafe conditions and other issues.
Partnership projects on “Ask the Trucker” Blog Talk Radio like this recent show with Paul Taylor Esquire of Truckers Justice help to assist all drivers learn what their rights are when being forced to do things that will affect their CDL. Listen to the Replay of “FORCED DISPATCH“
The Owner-Operators United (OOU) has endorsed R.E.A.L. Women in Trucking and asks for unity to be inclusive of truckers wives who seen their share of disrespect as they trying to keep the support system going for their guys. Trucking wives are a big component to the success of their spouses, they are very much part of the team even if they are not behind the wheel.
Hope Rivenburg , the young Widow of trucker Jason Rivenburg , she’s done more for truckers this past year than almost anyone despite losing her husband, giving birth to twins days later, working her butt off for the Safe Trucker Parking bill “Jason’s Law” having to endure a murder trial , going to Washington D.C. to speak on behalf of all drivers with very little recognition or REAL help from this industry.
Mike & Linda Rone of RMR Consultants have been wonderful by helping with DAC issues for a few women drivers who need to get back to work and rebut incorrect information that was reported on them. They go above & beyond to help drivers be D.O.T. Compliant. Their services are worth the expense to give you peace of mind that you have your work documents in order when you begin searching for an employer.
Jim Weldon of Driver Match is a Driver/Trainer who has also endorsed our site because he feels strongly about encouraging women to enter the industry but feels they should be trained safely are treated with respect.
Team driving can be an effective learning tool if done properly; it can also be a better way to make money if you can find a compatible person to drive team with.
Driver Match is not a dating site like other misleading team driving love match sites. It is a site where drivers can enter their own criteria to see if they can get along to team drive, he will be adding a background check feature in the near future.
These are innovations from people who care about highway safety, personal safety and being effective, not about ripping someone off who cannot afford to be ripped off.
Part of being a good driver is being a conscientious person, the big picture is trying to create some unity again among drivers.
“Truckers Against Trafficking” is a group that simply asks us to be the eyes and ears while we are on the road to watch for unusual behavior by utilizing their wallet cards and calling the national human trafficking hotline. They will be making their debut at the ‘Great American Truck Show” in Dallas, please stop by their booth a grab some wallet cards to share with other drivers.
Stand up for positive change people, we do not have to tolerate the smoothed over version anymore, not with social media. I am living proof of this.
Better training for all drivers with check and balances will help to eliminate the abusive system both in-house and inside the industry.
The art work for the site was done by Alex Raffi, an Editorial Cartoonist & Artist who also did Artwork for “Jason’s Law“. The intent was to show diversity because one of the biggest obstacles Women face is trying to control things that only lead to division.
If you have personal blog site you would like to link to R.E.A.L. Women In Trucking please email me TruckerDesiree@gmail.com
This is your opportunity to help others with what you know.