Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘ATA’

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Women entering trucking are at higher risk of meeting obstacles that hinder their success because this male dominated environment is lacking in accountability.

Unethical behavior and misconduct is generally targeted at those least able to fight back, this is the obstacle I have seen most frequently for truck driver students, especially Women.

Sweeping things under the rug like sexual misconduct in truck driver training carriers has created a big lump in the rug. The CRST Sex Harassment case is an example of the ignored lump that eventually created a hazard so great many were harmed. While some claims may have been frivolous, some valid claims are sadly caught in the mess.

The failure falls upon the carrier who did little to properly train their trainers and the industry who looks the other way.

Truck driver training does a poor job to prepare student candidates to become qualified drivers. For females, the highly unusual expectation of the living arrangements can be dangerous.

With the recent rash of reports on the EEOC V. CRST Sex harassment case I was at first stunned that it took until 2012 for the Associated Press to widely cover this massive case, many of the incidents occurred in 2005. It has been sparsely reported on by mainstream media and mostly ignored by trucking media, including OOIDA , trucking radio programs on SIRIUS, publications widely distributed at truck stops where truck drivers might read about this case and trade publications that might make the industry more accountable by creating pressure from other sectors for carriers like CRST to clean up their act.

The recent barrage of reports note that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had filed a “friend of the court brief”. If you are not aware, the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the former head of the American Trucking Association, if that does not SCREAM of politics I do not know what more one would need.

Perhaps, this story is all over because some other industry with as much clout as big trucking wants to rattle some cages? Maybe they could care less about Women or the EEOC case. Maybe it’s merely a power struggle between big rail and big trucking OR big labor and labor crushing, I don’t know but it is an issue that should be addressed.

Just 3 days before the AP broke this story, Ellen Voie the self-appointed corporate apologist for big trucking thanked CRST for renewing their corporate membership yet I received a letter from a CRST female student in distress just a few months back. I was also advised that remarks in court documents about an internal CRST crisis line which was somehow the remedy for their “issues” was no longer being used. (more…)

Read Full Post »

                                                                                                                                                           

On October 5th 2010, the front page of USA Today featured a story about potential serial killers dumping bodies along highways near rest areas and truck stops.

The article begins with the story of a severed head found of a teenage girl a few hundred yards from a truck stop in Barstow, California.  Alarming? Your’e Darn Tootin!

The disturbing map included in this article showed how many bodies have been dumped in each state, a body count for each contiguous state including Alaska with the exception of North Dakota. ( USA Today Article Link: Along highways, signs of serial killings by Blake Morrison )

Familiar names were included in this article like Frank Silio who works for Covenant Transport (my employer), Lisa Mullings, President of the National Association of Truck Stop Owners  (NATSO) and Norita Taylor from OOIDA who I met when OOIDA inserted themselves in the Dan Rather Series based on my student truck driver training story.

The article was stunning, not only due to the topic but the evasive answers given by these three “spokespeople” for the trucking industry who could have acted more responsibly with their answers.

I contacted the writer of the article, Blake Morrison, to let him know that his article seemed to twist the dangers to be parking at rest areas yet safe trucker parking is a major issue as well as violent crimes against truckers and violence against women within the trucking industry.

I wanted Mr. Morrison to understand that drivers are experiencing increasing crime in specific areas and the lack of security and lack of accountability within the industry is part of the problem.

I particularly had a problem with the side bar to the article called “Avoid being a Victim” with tips from AAA but nothing about trucking industry specific challenges.

I posted the following comments to his article in various places and I emailed it to him directly, it has also been posted on the Facebook fan page called “Real Women Truckers”.

I am a female truck driver who has been blogging about violence against women within the trucking industry for almost three years. Frank Silio actually works at the same carrier as I do, but he could have pointed out that our fleet is forbidden to stop at some NATSO represented “Travel Plazas” as CEO Lisa Mulling refers to them. Our employer does this due to high crime and freight pilferage that occurs at these locations, but because Frank is an ATA “YES” man, he did not.

NATSO CEO Lisa Mullings tries to make it seem as if the “Travel Plazas”, as they have tried to rebrand the truck stops, are family friendly safe havens, but this is untrue. I find safer and quieter parking at welcome centers and rest areas, unfortunately, many of these rest areas are closing. NATSO has not cleaned up their “Travel Center” act which permits activity like truckers see at TA locations in Nashville, Barstow, Ontario, Jessup, Maryland, Gary, Indiana, West Memphis and Little Rock Arkansas, to name just a few.

A group called “Truckers Against Trafficking” aims to raise awareness of Human trafficking which exists at truck stop chains like the ones Lisa Mullings represents, yet they have NOT yet been embraced to display posters and other informational materials about potential signs of human trafficking or other violence against women literature.

“Jason’s Law” S971 & HR2156 a safe trucker parking bill lay in the environmental & public works committee ( Senate) and the transportation and infrastructure committee(house) ignored, and again it is NATSO who does not want the truckers parking elsewhere despite the fact that they do not want to clean up the crime or create enough suitable parking for commercial drivers.

Norita Taylor, media woman for OOIDA may have used her opportunity to note that trucker safety is as much an issue as safe parking to highlight the failure that is occurring within this industry. She should have noted that safe parking is an issue for truckers and travelers alike, yet, the article is permitted to imply that rest areas are less safe than travel plazas which I disagree whole heartedly.

The topic of violence against women is taboo in trucking. It is ignored by the ATA, NATSO, OOIDA, WIT so it is no wonder there is a less than serious proactive approach to a small population of alleged serial killers in this industry.

This in effect harms the majority of hardworking honest truck drivers who are out here doing their jobs. It is totally irresponsible of trucking leaders to ignore it.

A major problem is the denial, indifference and apathy within this industry, which protects a few predators and retaliates against the people who speak out. Violence occurs regularly to females entering truck driver training, domestic violence occurs regularly at truck stops and women are often thrown off of trucks at “travel plazas”.

There is no way to know who these women are and often law enforcement treats all women at or near truck stops as if they were expendable lot lizards. The entire industry is responsible for looking the other way at this issue.

I can go into a TA Travel Center and buy studded condoms and sani wipes to kill herpes in the ladies room but it is considered soliciting if I ask to leave information to help a woman in distress so she can get help to escape from a situation or if she is being held against her will.

The ladies bathroom and shower might be the only place these people have a chance to ask for help yet NATSO does not want the literature because it might scare off families!

I guess the studded condom machines are okay though.

When I spoke to Mr. Morrison he told me he was trying to define what areas truckers see as high crime not to indict the entire industry but to offer help for travelers who are not as educated on the places WE truckers avoid due to high crime.

Well this is definitely something Frank Silio could have told him because our company sends us a message when they detect we are anywhere close to one of the “Off-Limits” travel plazas across the U.S.A..

In an effort to help Mr. Morrison I posed the question to drivers on three different Facebook pages ( Allen Smith of “Ask the Trucker” , Drivers Alike and Real Women Truckers” ) the response was overwhelming in a short period of time. The question was:

“What Truck Stops do you find to be high crime to be avoided? Please tell me name of chain, city and state. Thanks!”

Winner of the “Don’t Stop because even Truckers are scared of the Place” non scientific poll was hands down.

1.   West Memphis, Arkansas Pilot & Petro

Frank Silio should have pointed out that we are not permitted to stop there and must plan our fuel accordingly to skip this location.

2.   Ontario, California (West)

Travel Centers of America Notorious drug & prostitution trafficking activity

3.   Atlanta, Georgia  Petro, Pilot

*our company is not allowed within 25 miles of outer loop I-285 due to high crime in Atlanta Area

4.   Dallas, Texas

Travel Centers of America, Pilot, Loves, Flying J

5.   Jessup Maryland Travel Centers of America

6.   New York everywhere considered unsafe

7.   New Jersey everywhere considered unsafe

8.   Indianapolis, Indiana Flying J

9.   Barstow California Flying J & Travel Centers of America

10. Spartanburg, South Carolina  Travel Centers of America

11.  Carlisle, Pennsylvania Petro

12.  Birmingham, Alabama  Flying J & Pilot

13.  Gary, Indiana ALL

Pilot, Flying J, Travel Centers of America, Steel City

14.  East St. Louis Pilot, Gateway Truck Plaza

15.  Salt Lake City, Utah Travel Centers of America (Tooele)

16.  Stoney Ridge, Ohio (ALL)

Travel Centers of America, Pilot, Fuel Mart

17.  Lake Station, Indiana

 Travel Centers of America, Flying J, Road Runner

18.   Knoxville, Tennessee Flying J

19.  Nogales, Arizona  Pilot

20. El Paso, Texas Petro

21. Brownsville, Texas  Gordon’s

22. Hialeah Gardens, Miami ALL

23.Hunts Point, New York Zippy’s

24.Laredo, Texas Travel Centers of America & Gateway

25.Youngstown, Ohio Travel Centers of America & Pilot

26.Phoenix, Arizona Circle K

27. Nashville, Tennessee

Travel Centers of America & Pilot

28. Albuquerque , New Mexico Chevron

29. Amarillo, Texas Pilot

30. Fontana, California Three Sisters & all on Cherry Ave.

31. Memphis , Tennessee Pilot on Lamar

32. Olive Branch, Mississippi Loves, Pilot

33. Houston, Texas Key Truck Stop & Truckers Paradise

34. Little Rock, Arkansas Petro

Clearly a six year old can see some of the same name brand chains popping up. Here are some of the other remarks made by truck drivers “St. Robert, Missouri, safe for driver but not for loads.” , “Stolen fuel while I slept”, “Just about any Petro of TA (Travel Centers of America) is bad”, “Activity was not as bad as harassment from officials not letting you sleep”, “Never been stole from at rest areas”, “I no longer park in back row or walk between trailers after having someone hit me on the back of the head to rob me.”

Understand that truck drivers are not allowed to carry weapons. Some drivers mentioned carrying pepper spray and we have to give a “Woof Out” to Trucking Dogs who have warned off many potential attacks. My own little Truckin Dog Karma has kept me secure by warning someone off on several occasions. Still, many carriers have suspended pet policies due to increased idle laws. (Don’t even get me started on that one)

As an industry we can clean this mess up by communicating better. NATSO should educate their staff of signs of trafficking and provide them with wallet cards from “Truckers Against Trafficking”.

I have seen violence awareness information in the ladies rooms at Starbucks in rural Texas towns so there is no excuse not to provide it in “Travel Plazas”.

It was hard not to notice that the front page story of potential serial killers did not make the nightly news, which is a pretty powerful failure on behalf of the trucking industry who should accept responsibility for the climate they have created. Decades of neglect and trying to vilify hard working truckers in order to conceal how they manage their workforce. It is not a reflection on the drivers; it is a reflection on the executives who have not displayed the courage to take responsibility for the environment they have created for the drivers and the motoring public.

This is a chance for us all to move forward by being more cooperative to address the parking situation, the crime and climate in this industry that women are disposable.

If you have not yet watched the video trailer from “Truckers against Trafficking” about how Truckers are actually HEROES for reporting crime at truck stops I have included the link.

I have said before, I believe the crime at certain locations is a failure by individual management structures. If a low paid staff if being offered a couple hundred dollars to look the other way you will have this sort of activity.

Many drivers have the “No Lot Lizard” stickers on their windows and we hear plenty of jokes but no one deserves to be killed, mutilated and thrown on a roadside.

These are human beings, they may be runaways, they may be kidnapped teens who have been trafficked and sold. As truck drivers, we see things that would keep the executives up all night shaking in their flannel pajamas.

The climate in trucking is to keep your mouth shut, this a prison inmate mentality, this is a street gang mentality. If you see someone killed or hurt keep your mouth shut or you are next. That is “Street Smarts”, is that what the message is of the ATA?

NATSO can change that entire message, please listen to the mainstay of your your business, your patrons, the American Truck Drivers. These stories affect them by tarnishing their image

The irony behind it all is that the USA Today article implies that many serial killers are truckers, avoiding the real issue that truckers are actually targets and victims of violent crimes themselves, mainly due to the inadequately patrolled truck plazas that are havens for criminals. The fact is that there are criminals who are opportunists, and they see a trucking career as means of hiding their criminal activity through the cover up of a legitimate job.

The article does not accurately portray the character of the REAL OTR truck driver who is hard working, and sacrifices life luxuries to deliver them to everyone else. Truck drivers risk their lives in order to make a meager living. Many do live in their trucks and stay on the road for several months at a time.

The article actually creates more hostility and apathy towards drivers rather than the empathy that they deserve as they are targeted victims. This is what NATSO, OOIDA, Frank Silio, and the ATA should be displaying.

The truth is, NATSO and the ATA would rather just allow the misled public to believe the negative stereotype image about truckers so it will divert attention from the real issues:  Lack of safe truck parking and the human trafficking crisis occurring at truck stops. In doing so it ensures that their bottom lines will not be affected, namely maintaining trusting customers to travel areas, deterring people from going to rest areas, preventing the encouragement to pass Jason’s law to create more safe parking areas, and keeping the “lowly image” driver pay down.

 The ATA and NATSO are a tightly knit group and they continue to support each others goals and ambitions, denying and disregarding the true problems of the trucking industry for their own personal gain.

Additional Reading:

Is there a link between human trafficking, CDL training and Jason’s Law?  

Read Full Post »

Ray LaHood, Anne Ferro, Bill Graves

Name an industry that can get away with leaving a labor force stranded across the United States days before Christmas and hardly get any mainstream media giving it any coverage?

This is the power of controlling media and the trucking industry proved it during December 2009 when Arrow trucking turned off gas cards, bounced paychecks, closed its doors, and left truck drivers stranded.

I decided against a picture of an Arrow Truck for this post but instead I chose this nifty picture of Bill Graves the CEO of the “American Trucking Association” with Ray LaHood & Anne Ferro because they obviously all know each other.

On December 22, 2009 the Christian Science Monitor reported the Arrow closing and the story made its way to Twitter shortly afterwards.  In researching the timeline for this post I noted that the editor has made a comment about the original title. It makes me wonder if someone “contacted them” and a correction to the wording was made. Speaking out about human indignities by the trucking industry seems to be monitored very carefully.

Twitter became quickly a buzz on the 22nd with that initial article. Shortly thereafter a second report via Landline eNews article called “ Nightmare before Christmas ” by Clarissa Kell-Holland was also circulating.

Remarks by the truckers on twitter quickly became heated when it became clear that the twitter tags of @RayLaHood who is the U.S. Secretary of Transportation and frequently tweeted about job creation during that week & the ATA Twitter tag @TruckingMatters remained silent on the Arrow Issue.

Ellen Voie of @WomeninTrucking tweeted an announcement that Anne Ferro of the FMCSA would speak at the “Salute to Women Behind the Wheel” but said nothing about Arrow. In a private email I was advised she was very much aware of the situation but for whatever reason did not tweet any articles. I still have those dated emails but some of the remarks are not pleasing about Ellen Voie and they were made by one of her members so I will refrain for now.

Meanwhile others like @HDTrucking tweeted “Arrow Drivers get one heck of a lump of coal for Christmas” in between “Retweeting” things for Hubby Evan Lockridge @LockridgeReport who tweeted he would be doing a show on the 23rd about the Stranded Arrow Drivers.

Individual Truckers on Twitter were tweeting:  “Hope we never see management from Arrow trucking in management jobs in any other trucking company. #Fail 9:52 PM Dec 22nd, 2009” which was just one of the popular “ReTweets” that went on for days. (This was a retweet I copy & pasted from Jami Jones @Shewhoknowstruck )

On Facebook remarks of disgust that no one knew about the drivers went like this: “…I was talking to some at church, they have no clue what just happened! Sad! Some said they would have just brought the truck home. I ask how? Most of these guys had no money. How you going to buy fuel, pay tolls, cross border without cash? Plus they lost all contact with their company!” were made on the newly created Fan Page called “Stranded Arrow Trucking Drivers-Coordinate Efforts Here” which was made by the Landline Staff on Twitter. (The title has since been changed as well as the mission)

In prior projects on twitter such as @JasonsLaw & the Virginia Rest Area Issue , there had been interference by the Landline Staff on Twitter so I would be lying if I said everyone believed that OOIDA was creating the page for anything more than a membership drive. I have included a link above from my previous post on Jason’s Law but at this time I cannot elaborate further.

That afternoon in fact a well known Canadian Trucker had some mixed signals from comments made by Jami Jones the Senior Editor of Landline and challenged her to call into Daniel Audet’sTruck Star Radio” to discuss the Fan Page.

At first she declined but when pressed to show that she truly cared to get the word out through ALL mediums, she agreed and convinced the listeners that the OOIDA Fan Page was an effort to help the stranded drivers and not a membership ploy as we had seen in the past.

I was aware that OOIDA Media had also been calling around. I was on home time, I was very sick with a high fever and my truck starter had died so I had to drive to Denton, Texas to go into the shop. I was actually parked in the mechanics bay for the night on the 22nd and was hesitant to become a fan of the page until I was convinced by Daniel Audet that Jami Jones was sincere. At about 9pm CST I became a fan of the page and forwarded it to MANY people.

Dan Little President of the “Owner Operators United@DDLittle on Twitter had already begun Tweeting & making phone calls on behalf of the Stranded Arrow Drivers.

Dan Little was in close contact through Twitter, Facebook and nightly on “Truck Star Radio” and reported that OOU members were going above the call to assist the Arrow Drivers in getting them home, fed, & get them motels.  The OOU board of Directors also offered a 1 year 100% free membership to all Arrow Drivers.

Within a hour of the Qualcomm message that was received  by the Arrow Drivers telling them that the company had folded the OOU was contacted and that information  was passed on to Bob McCarty and several other national media contacts.  According to Dan Little it was Mr. McCarty who contacted CNN who broke the story worldwide.

On the morning of December 23, 2009 I was received an early morning call from @Longhawl a trusted friend from twitter who has dispelled many misinformation campaigns by  “The Trolls of Trucking on Twitter”.

My friend “Longhawl” was deeply disturbed by the news of the Arrow closing and more so that the ATA had the nerve to sit quietly and saying nothing and doing nothing.  I agreed that the ATA was a despicable example how to represent an industry but the truth about trucking is that this is how truckers are treated and most people could care less.  Longhawl told me he was just plain tired of seeing the arrogance that the ATA displayed toward the hardworking American Trucker and he wanted to help. He asked me why no one was attacking the ATA on Twitter outright and I said that retaliation in trucking is very real so most individuals are intimidated, also much of the trucking media sources are controlled.

In fact as I recal the day the ATA came on Twitter they only followed national media contacts and the publishing partners for the major trucking periodicals are very much “connected”.

Longhawl said “Well I don’t work for the Trucking Industry and I am going to say a few things” I said “Okay, I will ReTweet what you say.” I also introduced Longhawl to Mike Rone of “RMR Consultants” who was working on cleaning up a DAC for a woman trucker named @NJKatwoman .

Mike was disturbed that no one had assisted the drivers by notifying truck stops properly, making sure the drivers who were cut off from the outside world suddenly could make their way home with their belongings for the holidays. I spent a few hours on the phone with both Mike & Longhawl that morning while I awaited the repair on my truck. During that time I saw an Arrow driver try to turn in his keys to the Service Desk and the girl had no idea what he was talking about. Then he went to the fuel desk and she had no idea either.

Mike Rone had called Dallas Radio Station KRLD to get them to cover the story and I spoke to the girl at the fuel desk and told her what was going on. While I was speaking to her another girl walked up and said that the day before an Arrow driver was able to fuel up but the card did not go through so they had to pump out the fuel. Still they did not know that the company had gone belly up nor were they aware that the drivers were stranded. How humiliating is this for a driver who is on his way home for the holidays? They had already received one bounced paycheck and via qualcomm the company told them they were unemployed without notice. A message that said in essence “See Ya wouldn’t want to be Ya”.

The OOIDA Fan Page had numerous offers to help the drivers but there was no rhyme or reason to it. There were carriers offering jobs and rides but in practice that meant nothing more than a free link ad. There were no drivers on Facebook because they were out-of- touch. When companies like Swift & Schneider came forth to offer rides home it sounded grand but in practice how would the Arrow drivers know this? Were Schneider’s drivers advised to go track them down? What if they did see an Arrow driver who was stranded and they needed to go to Florida but the Schneider truck was under a load going to Washington?  Then what? I mean it looked great on the surface but in reality there was not any sort of practical rescue operation being conducted.

Together, Longhawl & Mike Rone created a forum that went live the morning of December 24, 2009 which aimed to sort out offers for assistance from all over the internet to make it easy for the drivers once they were located but not many people ever found that forum. It was submerged before it took off but it was made to help the drivers and that was all.

We had twitter going crazy despite the lack of mainstream media attention. The ruckus of the Stranded Arrow drivers and our constant circulating of the OOIDA fan page link was everywhere you looked. Within hours if you googled “Arrow Drivers” the 2 lone articles were complimented by thousands of additional items which were actual tweets that were going into Google.

Not many people realize that what you post on Facebook it remains in Facebook but on Twitter it escapes the “Twitoshepre” and into the “World Wide Web” which makes it searchable in Google!

The chatter could not be ignored, this was not just truckers on twitter who had jumped onboard, and the news of the Stranded Arrow Drivers was being circulated by concerned citizens from around the world on Twitter who were OUTRAGED!!!!

On the morning of December 23, 2009 “Fleet Owner” magazine put out an article called “Social Media Comes to the aid of Stranded Arrow Truck Drivers” but here’s the thing, these are all ATA skewed publications and it was sort of a slap in the face with some feeble acknowledgement that said: “Yes, we see you are making an impact but we are still not going to do anything about it.”

I personally monitored those tweets in Google regularly and forwarded the increasing stats to interested parties. There were many familiar faces in those tweets who were not only my followers but even my DOG’s followers!

My Damn Dog was doing more for Arrow Drivers than the FMCSA, Women in Trucking or the American Trucking Association! Merry Effing Christmas Truckers!

Okay, so I’m getting a little pissed… Breathe Breathe…

The tweets were very targeted by utilizing “Hashtags”, we had seen success in several projects by doing this method for the Virginia Rest Areas, Pickens Plan and Dog Rescue.

In the future I will detail this but I did go on “Truck Star Radio” and give a tutorial to people who wanted to help.

This was an enormous success and by the 24th I had been introduced to a group of former Arrow drivers and volunteers on Twitter and Facebook who I invited to join “Truck Star Radio” as much as they wanted to tell their true story.

It was not long until reports began coming back that pledges to give help were being ignored and that the OOIDA page was not being managed properly. Still it was an amazing outpouring of people wanting to help. Still today it is inspiring to see all the people wanting to help truckers and it stands as a testament to the power of social media.

In those beginning hours there was truly more offers for help than there was drivers. That was the problem, how would a stranded driver know that they needed to get on the internet?

As I said in the recent “Blog Talk Radio” broadcast I was deeply moved when I observed former Arrow Driver Brandon White organize efforts while enroute to his new job on the greyhound bus.

I was included in a circulating email of volunteers but I did not post publically because I did not want to alert “The Trolls” about my involvement which would derail the cooperation that we thought was taking place.

I have included the radio broadcast link and I don’t want to recap everything here but basically at this time I did not know about Donna Creekmore but learned of her shortly afterwards and her list of drivers.

This list was crucial to weed out the scammers who emerged. The other disturbing thing was that people who were disgusted trying to pledge assistance on the OOIDA board. Some people were reporting they went ahead and gave to some of the designated charities but then some drivers were reporting those same charities either ran out of funds or the told the drivers that they did not meet the criteria to get assistance.

One Arrow driver called the number and was told to go to a homeless shelter!

This was a problem for me and others who felt if Donna Creekmore had verified them as drivers and there were people willing to help assist them they should be matched up, end of story.

Again, I won’t get into all the backroom shenanigans FOR NOW but I did receive the exchanges between OOIDA & the Volunteers and it was not surprising to me who the characters were but still it was disappointing that this crisis was turning into a media power struggle.

Another page on Facebook surfaced on the 24th called the “Ex-Arrow Employee’s Page” and it seemed odd that OOIDA had not been in direct contact with these folks and Donna Creekmore as soon as they appeared on the scene to collaborate.

Donna Creekmore was assisted by a woman named Dana to organize help directly to drivers. I personally called both of them to see who they were because it was true that scammers were coming out of the woodwork on the OOIDA page and it seemed like no one was managing it properly. My own followers on twitter were getting too personally involved and I did not want any of them getting ripped off.

Donna Creekmore was actually in the emergency room with her Husband when I spoke to her, she said she was concerned with getting “her drivers” home. To my knowledge no one from OOIDA had contacted her at this time nor were they aware that Dana, Donna, Brandon and other Volunteers had set up a base of operations to help the actual drivers on from the driver list and match with pledges for help from individuals.

On the Monday after Christmas however the emails were flying. Soon after, Dana set up a third page of Volunteer efforts on Facebook for the Arrow drivers.  Dana continued assisting drivers with volunteers while Donna Creekmore was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia.

It was an amazing weekend! A huge storm had hit Oklahoma & Texas and shut down I-40. Many truckers were stranded and some were attempting to help stranded Arrow drivers when the storm hit.

Despite my attempt to stay in the background I was compelled to post publically after an OOIDA member called me to dispel rumors about repo men being at truck stops. I also called Freightliner and posted on their Facebook page asking for a public announcement. I did not get a response but it sure brought the trolls out.

Private texts to me by other truckers on twitter asked for me to pass along offers of help and jobs to Donna & Dana because they too did not want to stir up the trolls.

It was already too late; in fact the King of Trolls had posted on the OOIDA page Jan 2nd to stay away from any of the “other groups” and wanted to know if anyone had a concrete list. He had been tweeting with Jami Jones who was ensuring that to him that,  “…/amazing/ isn’t the word for it. It seems like we spend as much time killing rumors as productive good some days. & we have debunked some requests from alleged Arrow drivers needing help. We didn’t just fall off the turnip truck here” but that was not the truth.

There were problems behind the scenes and Jami Jones blogged “Imagine All the People” where she implied there was social media backstabbing which was sort of crazy because all the people I knew of had been up 24/7 tweeting, donating every last nickel they had and making phone calls to help Arrow Drivers while they were in bad shape themselves.

One woman who is a big fan of @TruckinDogKarma was in the ICU tweeting from her phone and had to have it removed from her by her doctor!  She later made phone calls with a partial list and got deeply involved with the missing trucker story when the Mother of that guy poured her heart out to her.

If that were not enough to turn my stomach, on January 5, 2010 the ATA finally remarked on the Arrow driver situation. Like a synchronized swimming event Ellen Voie tweeted “Angels Among Us” which originally had comments on it that have been moderated off but I was sent the copies.

In this article Ellen states she was called by OOIDA to bring home the last Arrow drivers but according to Donna Creekmore there were many drivers who were still not home or had no home to go to.

On this same day OOIDA edited their Mission Statement and Title on the Facebook Fan Page and the ATA Twitter @TruckingMatters account tweets this dumbass remark “Thank you to all the trucking companies working from day 1 to help former Arrow drivers #SupportArrowDrivers #Win “

That was in addition to this tweet right next to it: “TweetsSchneider National encourages former Arrow drivers to apply http://www.schneiderjobs.com #SupportArrowDrivers #trucking”

OY VEY! So those are the Holy Grail of Hope to the American Trucker?  Seems to me every day is media day in trucking!

There was huge lesson to be learned in the Arrow Trucking mess and that is people do care about truckers but they are not getting the information they need to help them.

Many people came together who were formerly divided and eventually worked together.

Good can come out of what happened at Arrow in the sense that an awakening should begin to come about that ordinary people can make a difference. You can gather the rest on your own when your eyes begin to clear like mine have.

Listen to the Blog Talk Radio called “Truckers Home” with former Arrow Trucking Employee Donna Creekmore that aired May 6, 2010
Blog Talk Radio Truth About Trucking "Live"

There were so many individual people to thank it was not possible to remember everyone. If you would like to thank someone please post and let them be recognized.

Read Full Post »

Honest John & Gideon


The driver shortage is back so they say. But if you talk to a veteran trucker they will tell you there never was one. If you will recall the ATA said there was no longer a shortage but rather a glut of drivers when “Queen of the Road” was aired. That was the first of 3 so far investigative reports into trucking from Dan Rather Report on HDNet.

If you have kept up to date with my previous posts my feeling was that this was linked to selling loans & collecting commissions first by trucking recruiters with a disregard for your success as a student trucker. (Dan Rather Report “Mind Your Loan Business”)

Of those who can secure either a personal loan or receive government funding to go to truck driving school, most will not make it past the first year, but who cares if you are in the business to sell loans. Insurance is the reason, so they say that a new trucker must be funneled into the handful of student trucking fleets regardless if you grew up in a trucking family and can already drive. For the rest of the population who have somehow found themselves entertaining the idea of becoming a trucker this may not be such a big deal but don’t get to confident, many of you will not make it either.

Student trucking fleets exist on an enormous amount of government money and funding, it’s sorta funny that the jobs bill is coming up and POOF! The Driver shortage has reappeared.

Student Truckers work cheap, as they should in order to learn the job of trucking but you should understand that trucking cycles through cheap labor just as every other industry does & you are expendable from the second the government cheese stops on your head.

I have just passed my two year mark in trucking and in a good economy it would be wise to go to a fleet where I am paid better but the truth is that those companies I have aspired to apply to are not hiring, many trucking companies are still struggling to stay afloat. I got my experience now and even though I am on a cushy dedicated fleet I only make 27.5 cents per mile, I work about 55 plus hours per week but I don’t get paid by the hour, I get paid by the mile and they have not been the 2400 average lately.

New regulations like CSA 2010 will definitely force out many drivers making room for new recruits who will do things the new way. Teaching an old dog a new trick is not a priority it seems in trucking so with new regulations and the movement to paperless logs, many drivers will be unable to adapt.

For new students, I recommend you start becoming educated now because many recruiters, CDL Schools and Training companies will not be interested in your long-term success because there are incentives to see you get that loan, work cheap and then quit after 6 or 7 months.

This makes room for another student and leaves you with less than the amount of experience you need to go to another company, despite what they tell you when you are in the planning stages to enter this career.

Advertisements like “Jobs for Felons” and “Workforce Investment Act” Vouchers for “Displaced Homemakers” give you hope of a new life and are designed to make you think the trucking industry is the goodwill ambassador in a depressed economy.

The training environment is focused on moving freight cheap, not learning how to be succesfull in the long run, that is up to you alone. I still love my job but I don’t make enough money to have a home or a car. I cannot afford to take much time off so I have not seen my family or friends much in the past 2 years. I have a good dispatcher and that is really hard to leave after all the shit I have been through. A good dispatcher to me means, he does not tell me to do things that are illegal or unsafe. Check Out this recent case against Prime Inc and you will know what I mean. “Prime Inc pays $75,000 in punitive damages

My dispatcher does not hold miles over my head if I do not comply to “I need a Favor” which usually means break the law and risk my CDL. He does not push me in bad weather and I think he knows I have good judgement that I won’t puss out while at the same time I know when to shut it down. He answers the phone when I call him and he is polite. I am polite to him as well even if I am having a bad day out here. I know he has a huge fleet and gets yelled at all day long. I don’t take my shit out on him and he does not take his out on me. Now that I said that publically he might start being an asshole, who knows? But I will just have more time to write if I am not rolling …I adapt.

The trucking industry does not like the term “Starve Out”, they prefer “Squeezing Out”, same thing… that means miles are withheld and you are left to sit until you quit on your own. Therefore you have abandoned the truck and this can go on your record which makes it hard to get another job.

You probably won’t be able to collect unemployment because you voluntarily quit. The trucking industry rarely fires people, they provoke you to make a jackass out of yourself. You never hear about trucking layoffs because then they could not justify the “Driver Shortage” and 125% turnover rate. Most people leave so discouraged they do not fight back so that’s why this has been going on for over 20 years.

Remember in the 1940 Disney movie Pinocchio that the little wooden boy is led astray many times with offers that lead him to troubles? Honest John & Gideon act as recruiters who sell the idea Pleasure Island is a voluntary vacation where there is unlimited freedom and bad behavior is rewarded. (Please read the definition of Pleasure Island I have linked here for you)

Remember the quiet sinister Coachman who sat and waited in the background for the boys to make “jackasses” of themselves?

The Coachman only had to sit back and wait for the boys to morph into donkeys so he could sell them off to work in the salt mines. The final morphing process was when they stopped being able to talk and could only HEE HAW! HEE HAW!

What a great gig for the Coachman, Honest John & Gideon! The “know it all” Lampwick was there giving all his expert advice. Remember it was Lampwick who turned into a Jackass first but Pinocchio was able to escape.

But say, remember the Coal Mine Ponies? Wouldn’t that be like a Salt Mine Donkey? Ponies were used in coal mines to replace Child & Female labor did you know that? Despite the Ponies being considered an investment to be cared for they were sometimes overworked. Child Labor Laws & Animal Welfare Laws are designed to prevent explotation.

Labor Laws are a son of a bitch for the bottom line, & in America, we really like cheap stuff so that’s why most of the stuff we buy is made in places that don’t have labor laws, that’s called “Outsourcing” and you should keep that in mind when you shop.

Trucking is a little harder to outsource but these are smart cookies here in this industry. Did you know that Truckers are considered “Unskilled Labor” ? That helps justify the wages, but wait a second? Unskilled Truckers driving 18 wheelers down the highway next to some family doesn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy inside, how about you?

If you are about to embark into a career into trucking, don’t believe one word about the “Driver Shortage” your recruiter tries to sell you. Make sure you call training companies and companies who require experience and ask them about their hiring area, you may find you can be hired as a student but not as experienced from the same area.

Criminal records and/or driving records are also a factor. You might be able to get a loan or funding but not a job and NO REFUND!

If you are a Woman you have extra worries seeing how the “No Sex, No Pass & Get Out” Climate still exists in trucking & retaliation is alive and well in many companies, including faith-based.

Make sure you check the “Rip-Off Report” for prospective companies and you can try “Driver Match” to interview Trainers. A good trainer word of mouth will hopefully get some of the companies to be more pro-active on conduct training.

Remember that recruiters talk a different story to experienced drivers because students are Ching Ching and the risk might be worth it to these big fleets who carry their own insurance. This is a math equation many qualified individuals are still trying to wrap their head around.

Also, you should know that it is harder to get hired with a record, driving issues & health issues and some companies have agility or lifting requirements your recruiter or CDL School will not disclose. Always remember as a student you are a cheap labor force so even if you get a foot in the door be prepared for “squeeze out” around 6 months with nowhere to go and a student loan to pay.

Even if you make it to the 2 year mark like I have, not many places are hiring. More pay doesn’t nessesarily mean anything if its irregular miles that are not a guaranteed average. If you have a corrupt dispatcher that is a big tradeoff because this is truly your support system while you are out on your own.

Realistically you can expect about $35,000 your first year. My second year we got 3 pay cuts so I made about the same. My insurance and benefits have also been cut. The cost to live on the road and maintain a residence is not possible on this income. If you have a family I do not recommend becoming a trucker. The divorce rate is high and so is the affair rate. These things are not worth it if you calculate that you will be expected to work 70 hours a week and not be paid by the hour.

If I run 2400 miles which I rarely get these days at 27.5 that is $660 gross but lately it’s been half of that on the average. Those are the keywords “On the Average” that makes planning hard. Takeout food, cell phone and insurance and that does not leave much to justify being out 3 months at a time.

These are things recruiters don’t want you to know because they “Don’t want to scare anyone off”. I believe there are plenty of people who are like me and can make a life wherever they are but why lie to people who cannot afford the risk of being treated like a jackass?

I recently saw an ad of two people giving a testimonial they made $55,000 last year, but understand that trucking ads are intentionally misleading. What you have to see below the surface is that they were a married team driving couple. That means they have one income, don’t need to go home and the truck rolls 24/7 when freight is good. They live in a box together, which is quite difficult for anyone.

If you can live on very little, you are willing to risk your life working all sorts of weird hours. Be on a tight schedule, have the ability to listen and learn and want a challenge I highly recommend trucking.

It will be up to you to research the obstacles of the enormous amount of recruiting ads promising “Pleasure Island” scenarios. Your cheap labor is wanted in trucking to squeeze out experienced drivers who have few options to survive in this industry.

This is how it works so when you meet Honest John, Gideon, or Lampwick when you enter this industry, make sure you understand the “Coachman” is lurking in the shadows waiting for you to morph into a HEE HAWING Jackass that won’t talk back.

If you are seeking information from people who care about your success visit “Ask the Trucker” & Become a FAN on Facebook of REAL Women Truckers where you can meet Real Truckers & ask questions to help you understand the obstacles before you get yourself involved in a loan.

If you are a Trucking Industry Professional and want to hear what drivers are saying you are also welcome to become a fan but remember this is my turf so I won’t be having any strong-arm bullshit corporate mumbo jumbo.

You are invited to listen and learn.
That is all…..

Additional Baloney:
Fleet Owner: Sizing up the Driver Shortage
Journal of Commerce: Trucking Companies FEAR Driver Shortage

Read Full Post »

                                           Support from Women in Trucking

 

Ellen Voie of Women in Trucking Revokes My Membership

As I mentioned before I had been in a brouhaha for months while I was a Member of “Women in Trucking“. ( that link will direct you my my other “out of  line” posts on WIT)  As many may have read in “The Trucker” my membership was revoked by Ellen Voie. The letter to the right was dated October 20, 2009 and reads as follows: “Enclosed please find a check in the amount of $25. This is a refund of your membership dues. Our Organization is dependent upon our members who support our mission so your membership privileges have been revoked due to you actions that contradict our goals. Sincerely, Ellen Voie President/CEO Women in Trucking, Inc.”

I was a member for about a year and a half and in that time I was privileged only to be bereated on a regular basis with Ellen’s seeming approval. Although privately she admitted she had to often moderate Sandy Long aka “Lady Godiva” (read link)  for her conduct on WIT , she did not seem to want to be involved with any of the actual Women Truckers.

It seemed like anyone who joined was promptly made to feel unwelcome and then disappeared from the forum. On most forums there is always that one person who has to put their two cents into every single comment, ussually adding some snarky remark, but based on the Mission Statement I kept expecting Ellen Voie to pop in and sort of take control of what was going on. That did not happen.

In my thread ‘My New Experience Might Help You” which has now been deleted from WIT but had over 3000 reads , some poorly planned remarks about the Dan Rather Report and the US Express Incident which I will write about shortly, I came to see that there was a pattern, perhaps even an intent to chase women away from WIT who asked real questions about violence during the training period.
In addition to entire threads being removed I had also noticed that individual posts were disappearing but the number of posts made was staying the same. That indicated someone was removing items, things were being moderated away but it was leaving a trail. Another item was that when a topic such as harassment toward Women was mentioned there was a flurry of new posts made immediately afterwards which pushed the harassment posts down and out of sight.

Because I had been labeled a troublemaker by the HR Lady at my company and been called a “Radical Feminist” at WIT, I decided to conduct an experiment of sorts by reviving these “Forbidden Topics” regularly to observe the usual suspects come unglued. It seems silly I know but this entire thing has been sort of a Human Study while I was in my training and with Social Media.
When the antics on the WIT Forum had gone so completely out of control as I mentioned before, I did call Char Pingel and then emailed Ellen Voie.  I had also been listening to a driver CD from my company that kept using voice tracks of Ellen’s that seemed to be some sort of endorsement from WIT. I wanted to know why she would let her trademarked name be used when the sort of conduct that was happening to me was also happening frequently to many others. The portion of the recording that bothered me was that the industry statistic of Women Truckers stood at 5%-6% BUT at Covenant Transport it was more like 15%, which meant they were actively recruiting Women with NO clear Policy to keep them safe. I was seeing it with my own eyes.

So many times I asked “Is there any Women I can team with?” There was no network in place for me to meet other Women for the team phase of my training BUT I knew Women were getting off trucks at all of our terminals for the same reasons. The question was WHY don’t they let us network and team up? I met a few Women who were at their “WITS END” (No Pun Intended but if the shoe fits). These competent Women Trucking Students just walked away, they quit because our company had pushed them too far and placed them in too many situations that affected their learning and safety.

I told Ellen that the CD seemed to “Imply” she endorsed my company and given the situation I wrote that she should be concerned that they were using her trade marked name without a clear policy to protect the Women from the unsafe “team business model”.  Ellen returned my email with this response:  “Since our interviews go on every company’s audio magazine, it’s not an endorsement at all.  Do the drivers also think that the entertainers and performers are endorsing the company?  The CD is for entertainment purposes, but the carrier specific content is to inform drivers.  I think that the exposure is beneficial for Women In Trucking. ”
 

I thought that response was a little crass and she seemed to miss the point. That being, Women are facing many Obstacles getting through their training at my company. To hear a CD provided by our management with her as the Women in Trucking Cheerleader was sort of a slap in the face.

I began posting other topics in the WIT forum like “The best CEO’s” and other items hoping she would come back down to earth and read her own Mission Statement.  I am very proud of the postings I made on WIT and I received a great deal of positive feedback by Women who sought to find me off of the forum where they would not be attacked and berated. I have copied those posts but I expect Ellen is desperate to eliminate my contributions to her forum but utilize the information for her own purposes to promote herself.

I have mixed feelings about this because I offered to help Ellen on many occasions promote HER agenda which was not Harrassment but I was clear that I would not use my gift to drive traffic to her unless she dealt aggressively with the epidemic I was watching in trucking. I would get this “We are quietly working behind the scenes” which is a “Blow Off” and really means, “Maybe if we be quiet and be nice polite girls people treat us better out of the goodness in their hearts”. Just like my HR Lady telling me that “Maybe if I got along better with my Co-Drivers…” which translated to me as:  “I should have Fucked Him so I’d have Job Security” is that the answer?  If I let my Co-Driver take advantage of my person and Human Dignity it makes me a better Truck Driver?

At that time I had also been observing Ellen on Twitter, she never followed anyone back even though people were following her. On Twitter, that shows arrogance. Twitter is interactive, it is not all about YOU, it is about sharing and exchanging and spreading the word or “Paying it Forward” so to speak. If all you do is talk about yourself and you don’t interact or show your personality, people lose interest in you. You are irrelevant.

The other thing that was odd was that what Ellen was tweeting on Twitter, she never mentioned on her WIT forum and it was very telling, especially when her only friend was the ATA @TruckingMatters  which to Truck Drivers is not your allie. I also observed actual Women Truckers trying to communicate to Ellen through Twitter and she ignored them. At first I assumed she didn’t know how to use it and I offered to help but she ignored me. Now I know she does know how to use it and “Borrow” her inspirations.

Back on the forum, Sandy Long aka Lady Godiva who as it turns out is a lifelong OOIDA Member (supposedly the anti-ATA) seemed to dominate everyone and everything that was WIT, more so than Ellen who simply popped in once in awhile to ask for advice on topics and products. It seemed to me that what Ellen was doing was using the Forum only as her own personal marketing focus group, she would throw out a question, gather data and utilize it for her purposes to market items and write articles. It was almost like she didn’t care about any of the heated exchanges that were going on. She only cared about whatever it was she was trying to market at that particular time, but it was never clear if those items that were developed with the ideas from the women on the forum benefited WIT. Does WIT only provide salaries or is there was some sort of program to help Women overcome obstacles in the trucking industry?

As I mentioned before, my first online stalker originated from the WIT forum, under the Twitter tag of @FreightLady1966 a “Gloria Torbich”, I recognized the name right away when I received an email on my Twitter account that said “Gloria Torbich is now following you on Twitter @Freightlady1966”. I had privately emailed Gloria also when it seemed like Sandy Long was becoming overly agitated by my participation on the WIT forum. Ellen was well aware of it and read posts made by Gloria from Twitter and from two other sites.  In an email, Ellen Voie indicated she knew some people had more than one online identity and despite the fact that again her trade marked name was being used, she seemed unconcerned.
One thing I have mentioned in my story time and again is that it was actually other “Women” who were the biggest obstacles for me in becoming a truck driver. My Trainer, The Team Coordinator, The HR Lady, and Drivers like “Lily” in my story that make new Women Truckers “Guilty until proven Innocent”.  My next obstacles were the Women at “Women in Trucking” and that was because they really didn’t seem to like other Women. Ellen seemed to be more interested in promoting WIT but she was completely disinterested in helping Women in the Trucking Industry overcome existing obstacles.

I watched several new Women begin to post and right away the snarky snide comments would begin to basically run most off. These were ladies who were asking simple questions on how they can best prepare themselves to be successful as truckers.  My perception was that with returning veterans coming home soon, many would come to trucking, more Women also who had gone into combat would look to a job that gave them independence like trucking. I proposed on my very popular thread called “My NEW experience might help you” that maybe WE could lay the groundwork now to make better policies, clear strategies to help these young ladies have a smooth transition if they did so choose the Trucking Industry. Especially NOW while the economy was crumbling it was the perfect time to effect change.
What I got was a TIRADE that goes as follows:  (Note:  What I wrote was taken apart and is in normal print, I have bolded the response to see how Sandy Long reacts to my post)
Subject: Women In Trucking: Reply posted to topic: My new experience in trucking might help you.
New message has been posted to forum Advice to New Truck Drivers, topic: My new experience in trucking might help you. by Lady Godiva on 11/28/2008 at 12:04 PM
.
Message: Desiree…I am sorry, I have to disagree with some of what you said…respectfully of course…my comments will be in caps…I am not shouting tho.
Quote: Actually, the current economical crisis has presented us a golden opportunity to seize control as companies are going to be in reorganization.
SIEZE CONTROL??? THIS DOESN’T SOUND TOO GOOD DOES IT…AND HOW ARE YOU GOING TO SIEZE CONTROL OF ANY SITUATION IN A COMPANY REORGANIZATION? ARE WOMEN GOING TO WORK CHEAPER THAN THE MEN? ARE WOMEN BETTER DRIVERS THAN MEN OVERALL? DO YOU THINK THAT A COMPANY SHOULD ONLY LAY OFF THE MALE DRIVERS AND OFFICE PERSONNEL?

(** note that nowhere have I mentioned Women taking Mens Jobs from them or anything of the sort that implies Women are better than Men)

Women are growing in this industry at a significant pace. It is to the benefit of the company to recruit them and therefore it is up to us to demand now we expect to not be isolated purposely to intimidate us, badgered for sex by our teammate/trainers, purposely mis-informed by other females who have a personal axe to grind, humiliated, violated or physically abused.
THE PERCENTAGE OF WOMEN AS DRIVERS IN THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY HAS REMAINED FAIRLY STAGNENT FOR THE LAST 20 YEARS RUNNING BETWEEN 5-7%, THERE HAS BEEN AN INCREASE IN WOMEN IN EXECUTIVE AND SUPERVISORY POSITIONS IN COMPANIES THOUGH DUE TO MORE WOMEN GETTING DEGREES IN AREAS CONCERNING TRANSPORTATION AND WORKING THEIR WAY UP THE CORPORATE LADDER. AGAIN, WHY IS IT BENEFITIAL FOR A COMPANY TO HIRE WOMEN OVER MALES?
IT IS NOT RIGHT THAT ANYONE BE HARASSED OR INTIMIDATED (THOUGH PERSONALLY I THINK THAT IF SOMEONE IS INTIMIDATED THAT IT IS MORE OF A PERSONAL PROBLEM), BUT HOW ARE YOU GOING TO DEMAND THAT NOT HAPPEN? SHOULD COMPANIES PUT VIDEO CAMERAS AND VOICE RECORDERS IN THE CAB OF THE TRUCKS? HOW ABOUT INSTEAD OF DEMANDING, WE WORK WITH OUR BROTHER DRIVERS TO EDUCATE THEM ABOUT HOW TO INTERACT WITH US AND WORK WITH THEM TO GET BETTER TRAINING/TRAINER REGULATIONS PUT IN PLACE.
I HAVE NEVER MET A FEMALE DRIVER THAT MISINFORMS ANYONE ON PURPOSE…THO THEY MAY DO SO DUE TO LACK OF THEIR OWN KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE.
INTIMIDATION AND HUMILIATION ACT ON INDIVIDUALS IN DIFFERENT WAYS, HOW IS THIS REGULATED? WHILE I MAY FEEL A LITTLE HUMILIATED BECAUSE I CANNOT BACK INTO A SPOT, IT IS BECAUSE OF MY PERSONAL FEELINGS, NOT BECAUSE OF WHAT SOMEONE HAS DONE TO ME. I WOULD ASSUME THAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT HOW A TRAINER MIGHT HUMILIATE SOMEONE OR INTIMIDATE THEM…OR HOW A DISPATCHER MIGHT INTIMIDATE SOMEONE INTO DOING SOMETHING UNSAFE OR ILLEGAL. THESE THINGS HAPPEN TO OUR BROTHER DRIVERS ALSO BY THE SAME PEOPLE…IT IS NOT ONLY A FEMALE THING.
OF COURSE I TOTALLY AGREE THAT NO ONE SHOULD BE ABUSED AND/OR VIOLATED. BUT, THERE AGAIN THAT IS A LOT OF THE TIME IN ONES PERSPECTIVE OF WHAT IS GOING ON. i THINK THAT ANY TRAINER OR PERSON IN A SUPERVISORY CAPACITY THAT FORCES ANYONE TO HAVE SEX WITH THEM SHOULD BE PROSECUTED TO THE FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW…BUT THEN AGAIN, I THINK THAT ANYONE THAT ALLOWS THEMSELVES TO BE FORCED INTO HAVING SEX TO KEEP A JOB OR TO ADVANCE OUGHT TO HAVE ENFORCED COUNCELLING TOO…WE DO HAVE CHOICES TO MAKE IN LIFE AND OPTIONS.

Students and CDL mills may not be able to pour into industry for a period because loans for school are harder to get. Less students, less government subsidies and tax credits makes companies look to their current structure to turn a profit.
THOUGH I AGREE THAT THERE WILL BE FEWER LOANS PERHAPS FOR STUDENTS TO ENTER THE INDUSTRY, I DO NOT THINK THAT THIS WILL BE THE CASE FOR VERY LONG AND THOUGH SOME OF THE TRAINING COMPANIES HAVE PUT A FREEZE ON HIRING ANY DRIVERS, THERE ARE STILL SOME THAT WILL HIRE A STUDENT OVER AN EXPERIENCED DRIVER DUE TO COST OF WAGE DIFFERENCIAL. HOW DOES THIS BENEFIT WOMEN DRIVERS? AS I SAID ABOVE, DO WOMEN DRIVERS WORK CHEAPER OR DO A BETTER JOB THAN MALES?

We can do that by reaching out and communicating and networking with companies WHO WANT to benefit from the growing demographic of QUALIFIED women.
I THINK THAT COMPANIES SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED TO BECOME FEMALE FRIENDLY AND GIVE WOMEN A CHANCE TO WORK FOR THEM AND ADVANCE SAME AS THE MALES. I THINK THAT FACILITIES SHOULD BE PROVIDED FOR THE FEMALES IN TERMINALS AND WAREHOUSES. I IN NO WAY THINK THAT IT IS OF GREATER BENEFIT FOR A COMPANY TO HIRE A QUALIFIED WOMAN THAN A QUALIFIED MALE, I PERSONALLY DO NOT THINK THAT GENDER SHOULD ENTER INTO HIRING DECISIONS IN ANY WAY…THAT MY SISTERS IS EQUALITY AND WHAT MYSELF AND MY SISTER OLD HAND LADY DRIVERS HAVE FOUGHT SO HARD FOR.
The only stupid question is the one you do not ask…
  (this is the real tagline, I kid you not)

WOW!  Talk about communication breakdown, the first thing I thought when I saw this was how do you conclude that I’m proposing that Women are out to take all the Men’s jobs by asking for clear polices? One of the problems I have seen is that nothing is defined. You have people from a variety of backgrounds and education levels with very little support or guidance whose lives are being managed by a 20 something who is not trained to understand or recognize that a “Situation” is occurring and action must be taken NOW!

This sort of conduct went on for months on the WIT forum until I went for broke and tried to introduce a girl I had come in contact with who was allegedly raped by another driver. WOO HOO, FIREWORKS!!! Even Ellen posted that time, that was the day she made posting rules that no company names could be mentioned. When I met her in Las Vegas she said, “We can’t say company names, they might be our Sponsors” … My thought? “UH-Okay….Certainly don’t want to mention Rape when money is involved.”  That comment was not an isolated either, Ellen did not seem to really understand what she was implying with that remark and it she repeated it to me on other occasions.

This is bringing me up to the “U.S. Express Incident”, which will be my next post. These are very importent items to understand how it is that my participation in the Dan Rather Report has inspired Ellen Voie to suddenly have a new priority. that’s right…. She’s got her “EYE” on Harassment.

Interestingly she felt a female member “Overreacted” to a Canadian Trucking Magazine Incident and did not see the validity of the U.S. Express Booth in Vegas passing out her brochures until photos appeared with an article more provocative than the attire.

To have your “EYE” on Harassment, you must understand it and Ellen Voie does not seem to understand that working around lots of Men in a management capacity brings lots of flattery. Perhaps even a false sense of the real world for Women who may be hyper-sensitive from traumas they have endured in the past.

To say a Women Trucker “overreacted” when you do not know about her 20 year history in trucking, or have ever bothered to inquire why she may have reacted so strongly is in poor form. This is not a polite topic, it’s not for the weak at heart. But the time is NOW to FIX it and it ain’t gonna be pretty.

The upcoming Solutions Show on “Ask the Trucker” with myself, Tom Hansen and Tracey Hamm formerly of CRST are meant to help Solve the Issues with people who truly care to make a BETTER Trucking Industry by raising the Standards. This will help all Drivers overcome obstacles.

Make sure you check out the Co-Driver Nightmare Video and Comments from @NJKatwoman I have posted on this site to get and Idea of how complex these issues are. This is not something that should be thrown together.

We need to see that perhaps some organizations are not really in it for the GOOD of others, and this is a very serious issue.

Read Full Post »

                               Dan Rather Report Part 2 “Truck Talk”

 

Dan Rather "Truck Talk" Follow Up Segment

The Dan Rather Report Part 2 “Truck Talk” is now “In the Can” as they say in Show Biz!Here is the Free Link where you can watch it online:

     Dan Rather Report Part 2 “Truck Talk

The Showdown was held at “Willie’s Place” for Part 2 “Truck Talk” , the Dan Rather investigative report into trucking. It was not near as much fun as I thought it would be but still I was glad to attend. It was purely coincidence that I had scheduled my home time to go to NASCAR.

After all, I’ve been out on the road since August when I came to Texas for the “Great American Truck Show” where I met up with Hope Rivenburg, the young Widow of slain trucker Jason Rivenburg who had 5 month twins and a 2 year old in tow to promote the federal bill for Safe Trucker Parking called “Jason’s Law”.

That was a busy week where not only was I helping at the GATS Show, I was being interviewed by more than one production. One of which called Bully in the Workplace  had to be coordinated with the Dan Rather Producers to facilitate the time schedule. This production is yet to air but Ellen Voie President of “Women in Trucking” does appear and you can see a Sneak Peak here.

Initially, I believe the Dan Rather Group might have ended up at the ATA sponsored truck show that was scheduled that same weekend in Pennsylvania but I suggested that GATS might give them a better opportunity to see a greater variety of folks involved in trucking. You see, the ATA, OOIDA and “Women in Trucking” all knew Dan Rather was doing a piece on Trucking for a good deal of time. I believe all were very excited at the prospect of meeting the Mr. Rather and having the chance to express what was important in the trucking industry from their organizations perspective.

In the beginning, I believe the content of the show topics filmed may have been so vast that a more narrow focus had to be made. In many of my post interviews after and in between filming I was also providing other links, contacts and information to the producers for both of these reports. This includes directing them to Mr. Tom Hansen who appeared in Part 1 “Queen of the Road” who posted here on this site to Tracy Hamm of the CRST Sex Harrassment Case. Also, a former Million Mile Driver from my company who was terminated in a snowstorm and others. I also sent them links to post show comments from various forums including negative comments from my First Trainers “Friend” here on this site and other sites where the vast majority was positive and in agreement. There were a few critics but those were mostly my familiar online stalkers.

 I also provided links to “Women in Trucking” regarding both Dan Rather Broadcasts but they have since been deleted. I was also alerted that posts by members of another WIT member forum were not moderated to prevent information about the Dan Rather Report getting out in that arena in an attempt to keep this story under wraps.

Since the first broadcast, I received a letter from Ellen Voie revoking my membership to “Women in Trucking” stating that I do not Support their Mission, which is to help Women overcome obstacles they face in the Trucking Industry. The single most popular thread on the WIT site I started with over 3000 reads was deleted but I anticipated her doing that when she realized Dan Rather interviewed me in Dallas so I took screen shots of the entire thread which is some of the basis of the “Bully in the Workplace” issue.

My first online stalker originated from the WIT forum and it is because of the treatment I received at this organization that led me to twitter.  That is how @TruckerDesiree was born.

Truth be known, I joined WIT in spring 2008 and had been reaching out for assistance from Ellen and on behalf of other Women I met during this journey who did not join due to the climate they observed where I was attacked verbally for seeking guidance AFTER I had been through my HR department.

I then joined OOIDA , not for assistance with the Women’s Issues in Trucking but because I was being asked to comment on many things trucking from my popularity on twitter and I was not educated in these matters enough to do so. I spent a good amount of time trying to gain knowledge or redirect people from twitter to the people at Landline Magazine who are also on Twitter to assist in some of these questions but they were not as interactive as I am.

Many times I called on the phone and spoke to a guy at OOIDA who emailed me articles and I would pass them along. Sometimes when I provided these articles I was attacked as with the case of the Dear VDOT Story in Appomattox News regarding the closure of Rest Areas.

There is a lot of unknown yet to be told history to this tale and I advised the Dan Rather Producers to “Please make the investigative reports LESS about ME and more about what is happening to people who have no voice or ability to speak to the outside world about what is going on in the trucking industry”.  My position has always been that it is futile to discuss the issues that need correction in a way only truckers understand because they already know the problem. The answers lie in making the story interesting enough for non-truckers to care about what is happening.

The ATA, WIT and OOIDA have known about me and my Student Trucker Story for awhile now. They also knew Dan Rather was doing an  Investigative Report. I believe ATA knew I was in the story but I think it caught WIT and OOIDA by surprise. This is an OLD story but it is a NEW twist to the story to a very interested NEW audience. There are many people being affected because Americans are desperate for work and the trucking industry is all too happy to take advantage of this crisis. These folks are searching for help.

Many Owner-Operators do not see the relevance to this story but they should because the mega companies with their confused disenfranchied cheap labor force of desperate people are seeking a chance at HOPE , they are hungry. Cheaper Labor will be the demise of Owner-Operators unless they pay attention. The Mexican Truckers that were mentioned in the broadcast making .13 cent a mile? That is what Student Truckers make and they are a dime a dozen but some of them figure out what is going on, like me.

OOIDA VP Todd Spencer was not aware I had joined OOIDA when he came over to shake my hand at the taping of Part 2 “Truck Talk” by Dan Rather. He did congratulate me on a “Good Job” but there is much more to the Student Trucker Industry than just my story and that is why I will persist to help get other Student Trucker Stories and Women Trucker Stories OUT to the public.

 The public is interested in Truckers right now like they have not been before because they can understand this topic whereas other issues they do not. That is why the message has been lost despite the fact that these things have been said before for many years.

While it was not planned that I attend this forum initially, the coincidence that I was in Texas at the same time prompted an invitation for me to be present. At the time I was told about the show schedule, I was sitting in Bentonville, Arkansas awaiting a load home to Texas. I waited much longer than I have ever had to wait for a load home with no word whatsoever. I did not understand the silence but when I found out about the behind the scenes wrangling it made sense to me.

I was happy that Allen Smith from “Ask the Trucker” was invited to attend and that the Dan Rather Producers facilitated him to participate, after all, it was Allen Smith of “Ask the Trucker” who reached out to help me. He and his Wife Donna provided me a place to tell my story and not be moderated away. It was my story “A Day in the Life of a Lady Trucker” that captured the interest of producers during their research of other blogs and organizations in the trucking industry.

My story is based on events and people I met as a student trucker. It has adventure, humor and triumph as I overcame obstacles set before me from the system seemingly set up for failure which is the Student Trucker Industry that I encountered. It is based on actual events from documented complaints I submitted to my company that were dismissed in some cases. Other situations I was told were being investigated but were in fact not being investigated. Because I kept meeting students with similar stories I began to write even though many of my obstacles were behind me. On Dec 16 2009, I will have 2 years of accident free driving with no citations despite everything I have endured. That is from sheer persistance and determination that I did not take “NO” for an answer. For every roadblock set before me I found an alternate route around those obstacles.

Michael H. Belzer who appeared in “Truck Talk” himself wrote a book about the Student Trucker Industry named appropriately “Sweatshops on Wheels” his book was written way before I came along. Indeed this is an old problem that has been long covered up.

I have to commend “Werner” Chief Operating Officer Derek Leathers for appearing and being open to a discussion. I wish that more companies had the courage to discuss suitable solutions for more effective training system for student truckers and personal safety for Women entering the industry which keeps being shoved to the side.

I was suprised by the opening statements by Mr. Rather about the ATA backing out. The evidence suggests they knew I was in Texas and were told I would be present. Even though I would not be on the forum, I did promise to be sorta kinda nice and sit in the audience with my hands folded on my lap. The ATA remarks about me not being credible and so forth are in my opinion a “catch all” statement. No one has contacted me from either my company or the ATA to request evidence or comment after the broadcast. The documents provided to Dan Rather Producers are copies my company has had for sometime, how honest they are being with the ATA and the fact that I have been reaching out for assistance at WIT during the past year and a half might be more of a reason they would like my story to go away.

OOIDA Life Member Miles Verhoef was extremely professional and it was an honor to shake his hand. He also did not know I was an OOIDA Member prior to this taping, I guess someone forgot to mention that and I hope no one was embarrassed by being caught off guard with that small tidbit of information.

I sat with veteran Women Truckers off to the side and they were quite happy with these issues coming to light, after the ending of the show I was rather touched by an older Woman and her Husband, both OOIDA members who you can see sitting in the front row, she came up and grabbed both my hands and said “Thank You so much for speaking up”. She was thrilled someone was listening to what is going on out here. THAT my friends …. (And enemies) is what makes me do the things I do and say the things I say.

 I am not motivated by money or sponsors or of fame. I am motivated by the ATA not showing up and answering questions about me to my face. I am motivated by my company who is willing to put more effort into a media packaged letter about their “Commitment to CARE” and hide me from other drivers with the same complaints as mine rather than address the obstacles student truckers and experienced drivers face from their system. I am motivated by Ellen Voie and Sandy Long which led me to Twitter and prompted me to purchase that PINK TOOLBOX. I am motivated by the drivers I meet everyday who wish someone would not only listen to them but understand the complex array of issues occurring out here which indeed affect Highway Safety, National Security and Human Dignity.

The day following the show I returned from my home time, I had 2 preloads waiting for me and got a third shortly afterwards. I also had a bad headlight that keeps blowing. My company policy is to go into a terminal for repairs to save money which is understandable with this economy. Being the “Team Player” that I am, I picked up my load in Texas “ON time” and advised through my QUALCOMM I would stop by our Hutchins terminal which was very close to me to have the issue fixed.

The response was: “Can’t we go to a truck stop and get a bulb?” My suspicion as I had written earlier in my Qualcomm was that this was a deeper issue because the bulb kept blowing and this particular terminal did the prior work last month so my intent was to get our mechanics to investigate their work to save our company money.

In trucking though you have to “read between the lines” on the Qualcomm which I have come to refer to as “Hot Potato”. They say something trying to you in order to provoke a response. You can only get rid of the “Hot Potato” by using special “Codewords” to get them to either go silent or move on to another subject.

I rarely interact with my current dispatcher. I am aware someone else has perhaps advised some of his word choices to me and I have a pretty good idea who it is. My dispatcher has never been privy to my student trucker story nor to the previous drama I endured in my other fleet, I feel sorta bad for him because he does not know what is going on and he is a good dude.

 Anyways, three days later, Two $16.00 bulbs, a stop at a TA for a temp fix which delayed my schedule resulting in being undispatched from a load and a trip to Freightliner for a repair because TA could not complete the work. Here I am still dealing with that headlight issue that I should have stopped by the terminal to have repaired. What does this all mean? 

Well, first go round a fleet Qualcomm was sent out prior to the Dan Rather broadcast telling our drivers not to speak to any media following the show if they were approached and for them to contact …. Get this… The HR Lady from my Student Trucker Story if they had questions. AS IF!  Here is a resource about HR Departments so educate yourself about that so you understand better. “How Organizations Empower Bully Bosses

So I suspect they didn’t really want me around other drivers so that they would not know that there is a second broadcast. See the way issues disappear in trucking is to ignore them, deny they exist and say the source is not credible. That’s the way it is done INSTEAD OF coming out and FIXING the problem.

I have never asked for special treatment, I only wanted to pay $5500.00 to learn to operate a truck safely. I am not the only one in the world who feels the same, to the contrary. I am not the only Women who has been badgered for sex, left in the desert and lied to that some investigation was occurring when it was not. I am not the only driver who is upset about idle policies to charge drivers when the Smart Way EPA award is being accepted for reducing emissions when in fact driver’s don’t have APU’s or proper bunk heaters.  The truth is driver’s are afraid to be charged by our employer to stay warm in winter that’s why the emissions are down! I am not the only driver upset about forced Per Diem and the DAC reporting system hanging over your head which has so many allegations of False Reports to keep drivers quiet.

I did live to tell the tale and I had a few talents that ole HR Lady never anticipated … I can write and communicate to the entire world from a PDA one letter at a time. And Guess What? THERE ARE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD WHO CARE ABOUT RAISING THE STANDARDS FOR TRUCKERS EVEN IF THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY DOES NOT!

It seems I am also an Inspriration for Ellen Voie, she is beginning to address the hard questions , albeit with my research. On November 11, 2009 at 4am I posted an intriging article about another industry experiencing similar challenges for Women on a new Twitter account called @WomenTruckers I followed Ellen who blocked it and me but not before she lifted one of the articles for her forum which she posted November 11, 2009 at 9:43 am  on “Women in Trucking

This is not the first time this has happened where what I wrote was “borrowed” by Ellen Voie.

I Support “Women in Trucking” but I do not believe in “Selling” personal safety, this should be free information. Esspecially when the ones you need to protect yourself from are in your own company and if one of those companies is a “Women in Trucking” Sponser, that’s sort of a conflict of interest now isn’t it?

Let’s spell that out a little. If the ATA and WIT are working together and Violence is occuring to Women who are entering trucking in their student phase and ATA says I am not credible and WIT says I don’t support their mission yet they are trying to make a “Best Practices Guide” with the EEOC, to what? Sell to companies in a way in the form of sponserships?  That sorta sounds like “Vinny” coming by some “Mom & Pop” shop saying if you pay me , I will make sure Guido my cousin won’t break into your store”. Preventing Violence toward Women & Men as they enter the Trucking Industry, keeping people SAFE should be FREE. The trucking industry should do it willingly not spend money to cover it up and fight it. What is wrong with you people?

All of the links on this wordpress are to provide free resources to anyone who wants to learn more. I have always been good at collecting information, research, networking and manging difficult people …. I just want to drive a truck right now.

I have started a new Fan Page on Twitter and Facebook and it WILL NOT be a NON-Profit Organization, because I have learned that means nothing. It means only someone is getting a paycheck and they may or may not being doing anything to help the people they are collecting membership fees from.  This will be a free support network of people who care about other people to provide FREE information for resources both Men and Women.

 Those are the kind of Women Truckers I have met, they have Huge Hearts and vast knowledge.

See Y’all at MATS for the Salute to Women behind the Wheel!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »