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Posts Tagged ‘Dan Rather’

                                                                                                                                                        The last ride of Covenant Transport Truck 11438 was as eventful as it was in the beginning of my story when I began writing in 2008 on “Ask the Trucker”.

Generally, my dedicated account kept me east of Texas but as you know I am from California.  One of the reasons I wanted to enter trucking was so that I could run all 48 states because I have friends and family everywhere.  In late May, I got a load assignment from Ohio to Porterville, California and I was thrilled because my oldest Grandson Mason lives with his Dad in Porterville. I have been unable to my family for 4 or 5 years.

I was able to visit Mason at his school for lunchtime and go to his little league practice. You should have seen the smile on his face when I showed him the truck. He was so excited and he saw I had his picture in my bunk. 

A load to central California generally means heading south to get a load back east again. This was perfect so I could see my Mother, Step-Father and Niece. They did not know of the events in my student trucker story until after it was publicized.

I was only able to visit long enough to have dinner because I got a load out of Torrance, California that went all the way to Delaware. It sure was nice to see them again.

My load had a stopover in Chattanooga, Tennessee and I was told Truck 11438 had been sold; I had to come in to our home terminal to move into another truck.  It was time and I knew it was coming because many others on our dedicated fleet had to do the same. My truck had about 550,000 miles on it and it ran like a champ. I had minimal problems with it but I knew it was time for it to be cycled out of service.

Truck 11438 was the headquarters of the world I shared through twitter, it is where I was interviewed by Dan Rather  , plus it was @TruckinDogKarmas first home.

It was bittersweet for me on that last run because there have been so many memories on twitter of people who have come to meet me & the projects launched from inside that truck.  All those provocative tweets that were lobbed from my bunk using only my Palm Treo PDA that reached worldwide to spread my story and conduct my social media experiment.

When I received the number of the truck I was supposed to move into I was puzzled, it was not but 300 numbers different than mine, which meant it was old also and should also be up for sale soon.

Switching trucks does not mean getting a new truck and many of the other drivers were complaining they were being assigned trucks that had multiple mechanical problems which was delaying them from leaving out to roll again.  We do not get paid to move our stuff from truck to truck and we do not get paid to sit and wait for repairs. Some drivers had been there already a week with no pay, yet our terminal had new trucks everywhere.

From what I understand, trucking carriers will bring new trucks to sit on the property to make it seem like they have no drivers and this makes students get excited that they might get one of those brand new trucks.  It is a gimmick and according to Allen Smith on “Ask the Trucker” they often do not have to make payments on them until they are in service. So they are actually just using them as lures.

I could barely find room to park my bobtail there were so many new trucks out on our property when I arrived.  When I checked out the truck I was assigned I saw it had 100,000 miles MORE than my truck.  That meant it would be sold probably in the next go-round and I would be moving once again with no pay.

The interior was brand spankin new, the passenger side was brand spankin new, the back of the cab, all new metal, and the driver’s side old. On the Qualcomm was a message from the former driver that had not been erased, this is what it said: “Steering really starting to pull right on this truck. Did not want to deal with this Sunday evening traffic through mountains with this truck in shape it’s in. Getting ready to head out”, the driver signed his name and the message was dated.

That was the last message on the Qualcomm and this truck had obviously been pulled from a ditch, no way to know what happened to the driver.  I pulled the hood open to see many of the parts I have taken my truck in for that were repeat offenders in other trucks had not been replaced. According to my dispatcher this truck had been inspected and was road ready but the tires had gouges, the horn did not work and there were a number of other items I wrote up to send this truck back to the shop.

There were no guarantees that whatever caused this truck to end up in a major accident was resolved. I adamantly refused to accept it.  Poor equipment ends lives and as company drivers we are held responsible for equipment yet we have little say in repairs we feel are necessary.

Take the case of Daren Baird a female trucker who had 40 years accident free yet in a Tennessee rainstorm her truck crashed, ending her life. The trailer which usually hauled U.S. Mail was empty at the time and she was on her way to the terminal to begin her day. Daren Baird who appeared on the Today Show with host Meredith Viera may have been the victim of faulty equipment according to others who worked at the same company.  I have included the clip here when the crash was reported.

Watch Today Show Report on Crash of Daren Baird with Meredith Viera

The Tennessee company that Daren Baird worked for had a history of operating unsafe equipment according to another former driver for the company. The Department of Transportation rating for this company was a very high 92 with 100 being the worst.  According to sources, this company now has new DOT numbers which would in effect give it a clean slate.  You can read more about this tragedy and comments from other drivers with news stories included about equipment failures from this company in the following link.

Veteran Truck Driver Dies on the Road

There are new regulations coming to the trucking industry called CSA 2010 but unfortunately they have not been perfectly thought out with regards to willful negligence on behalf of carriers. Most people think of truck drivers as being Owner-Operators but this is not true. Many truck drivers are employees who have to argue for repairs on their trucks even though most of our bosses never take the time nor even know how to inspect one themselves.

My dispatcher at least has been man enough to admit he has never inspected a trailer or truck and would not know where to start. He was not happy that I refused the truck assignment but he told me he would assign me another.  I didn’t want to make him unhappy but I did not feel comfortable gambling my life on a truck that made me feel very uncertain of its overall safety.

The second truck option I was assigned had also been in a serious accident and was not even on the property.  It had been assigned to my girlfriend Deborah who had taken it to Detroit Diesel for major repairs and it would not be fixed for several days.  She had already lost many days of work with this truck babysitting it.

I agreed to wait for the second truck because I knew my girlfriend had inspected it with a fine tooth comb and persistently oversaw the many repairs it was receiving. She had been going to check on its progress and was monitoring which parts were being replaced.

My dispatcher issued me an advance to get a room to wait for the truck. It was too hot for Karma & I to sit and we are not supposed to idle. My stuff was half packed and it was a disaster to move around.  The off property mechanics told me the truck would definitely not be ready for a couple days because they were awaiting a part to be delivered. I made the best of it and packed up our bags to go stay at a motel close by our terminal.

I f you have read my student trucker story you will remember a part where I had to get off of the truck from my first co-driver who was a supposed to be a temporary after he became violent and I was shaking so hard I could not shift. He had been badgering me about my sex life trying to find out why I was not interested in him. In his final tantrum he declared I must be a racist because I was not responding to his come on. He proceeded to try to persuade me that he would never force me to have sex with him.

I was fresh out of a very poor training experience and had very little skills to drive on my own. I had no money and no one to call for help.  This guy had flirted his way into the trainer’s program with “MS” just before we had left our terminal despite his admission that his own dispatcher told him he had an attitude problem and should not become a trainer.

Shortly after I was on the truck alone with him he confessed he was only becoming a trainer to “Git a Female on the truck” and proceeded to badger me relentlessly until it reached the breaking point.

I was stunned when I finally got off the truck and I did not know who to call. This was not covered in orientation and it was after hours. Thankfully, the terminal manager gave me a number to call that I was not made aware of previously that was for emergencies. It was called the “Incident Reponse Center” and they helped me over the phone to get a room so I could get off the truck and away from that guy.

Unfortunately, on Monday morning when it was time to pay for the room again no one at my company was answering my calls. I kept being told to call “MS” but she was not returning my messages. I ended up being asked to move out of the room and sit in the lobby with all my stuff.

The lady at the front desk was extremely rude to me and went on and on about my company’s reputation and how they did this all this time. I am formerly of the hospitality industry so I was not amused to see this front desk clerk rant and rave about the company I work for while I sat in the lobby with all of my belongings around me.

At that time, I was new to Covenant Transport and like most students I wanted to give the benefit of the doubt that this was an isolated incident.

I called and called that day trying to find someone to put money on my card so I could go back in my room. I will admit I was also traumatized from the incident with the other driver. I just wanted to be alone while I waited for another truck to come pick me up. 

Most times I could reach no one or got disconnected. If I was able to reach someone, they just transferred me to another dead end where I was disconnected or got the Voice mail of “MS”.

Sitting in that motel lobby listening to the lady go on and on about Covenant Transport while being on hold trying to reach someone to pay for the room as I was told to do was more than frustrating, then a guy with an accent answered the phone. I explained to him the situation and within minutes I had money on my card and was back in my room.

All the excuses and run around about what proper channels I had to follow to get my room paid for and BOOM! One dispatcher who decided to go the extra mile handled in a few seconds. He was not my dispatcher and I have never met him in person but I will always remember his name.

That was over two years ago and I have had few instances where I needed a motel room since then.  I won’t recap it all but my point is that we have issues on the road and we are without home & wheels and we rely on our in-house support.

In a low paying company like mine, it’s true we live check to check. Because I had two very long trips with good miles I had no trip packs in the system, they had not been dropped so I was not getting a paycheck the week I came in to swap trucks.

I was also not eligible for an advance because I was no longer under a load. They had taken my Delaware load because it needed to be delivered before the repairs would be completed for the truck.  This is trucking, fly by night trying to manage life and work in a manner most people could not tolerate.

At least I had a direct number now to my dispatcher and he usually answered the phone so I did not foresee a problem calling to get more money on my card to pay for the room another night, except I was wrong.

A communication breakdown on when the repairs would be complete and one person in a meeting was all it took to derail my day. For whatever reason, no one could give authorization to pay for my room so here I was again being asked to sit in the lobby and wait for my company to pay.

I began calling as soon as the 9-5 staff had come to work that day but here it was past check out time and no one was available to handle the transaction. In a company the size of mine this seems to be absolutely unimaginable!

Having drivers in motels across the country for various reasons in a fleet our size should be a daily occurrence so making sure everyone has money to pay for their rooms before checkout… Come on, … what’s the problem? I mean, checkout time is the same time all over the world so it’s not a big mystery that this should be a first thing in the morning priority for whoever is in charge of authorizing it.

On this occasion, the lady at the front desk was polite and even spoke to my dispatcher to let him know that my stuff had to stay in the room but I had to come and sit in the lobby with @TruckinDogKarma until someone from Covenant Transport paid for the room.

I set up my laptop at a breakfast table and sat with Karma waiting. It was already lunchtime so I had hoped they would call soon but you never know. I decided to get up and walk down the driveway of the motel. Maybe my dispatcher could find someone else to help issue the funds?

I walked down the steep driveway of the motel and slipped. There was runoff water on the driveway from a backed up drain and it had accumulated algae. My knee went straight down into the blacktop and I saw something sticking out, it was my kneecap.

In a few seconds my life had changed again. A man saw me fall and called 911, I screamed so loud Karma ran back to the office with her tail between her legs. I think she went to get help and it worked! She was returned to me by several people who brought me ice until the Ambulance arrived. I remember seeing Karma standing there perfectly still, she looked so scared and she never has her tail like that.

I called my dispatcher and told him I fell and I would be going in the ambulance to the hospital; I needed help with the dog. He said he would send someone but in just a few minutes he arrived himself and took Karma. 

My Kneecap Shattered

My kneecap broke in half and the bottom half broke into 9 pieces. I went to a trauma center and had surgery the next day.  By a stroke of luck my girlfriends were in town for truck repairs at the same time. In over 2 years at Covenant Transport we have never all been in at the same time and Thanks God for them!

Deborah paid for the motel room, got my laptop from the lobby and put Karma back in the room where she stayed until they moved her to our company motel across the street.

Deborah helped me home from the hospital and my other friend Darlene helped me gather my stuff from truck 11438 after my surgery with a few other friends who were so nice to come help me and in the rain too!

Some very nice people from twitter drove up from Georgia drove up to get Karma and kept her for two weeks after my surgery because I could barely move around on my own. (Thanks to The Johnsons from Twitter)

After I was out of the hospital I stayed in our company motel which is quite shabby but I had no choice. Now I am recuperating in Florida and I am on a new adventure with workman’s comp and trying to get to my physical therapy on the city bus in a leg brace.

In my next post I will talk about my experience with workman’s compensation. When truck drivers are injured far from home they are reliant on their companies to help them get home with their belongings, pets and they are generally in a great deal of pain.

I plan to share with you how the supply chain works when the freight is the driver.

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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

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Dan Rather

Dan Rather Investigates Trucking

The Dan Rather Report Investigative Series into the Student Trucker Industry is available on iTunes. Three shows so far have been produced based on the clues I touched on from my Student Trucker Horror Story called:

 ” A Day in the Life of a Lady Trucker “.

The Dan Rather Report series into trucking began with Part 1 “Queen of the Road” , Part 2 “Truck Talk” and this FREE link is for Part 3 “Mind Your Loan Business“. It will only be good for 2 weeks.

The 2009 year end episode of Dan Rather Reports also includes “Queen of the Road” as one of the most controversial. Uh-Oh Spaghetti-O!

The other two shows had free links but those have expired. You can still buy these shows for $1.99 on iTunes. I have provided you a link HERE Once you download itunes to your computer you can shop online for Movies, Music and TV Shows. Just search the iTunes store for “Dan Rather Reports” and each title will appear. Scroll until you find the episodes you want.

It does take a bit of time to download them but they are saved on your computer to watch more than once.

This new episode called “Mind Your Loan Business” came out the same day as the unemployment numbers from Detroit were estimated at 50%, this makes me very sad to know that targeted recruitment is occuring in areas hit hardest by our economy.

I noticed this when I was in CDL training that there were targeted demographics in particularily high unemployment areas. I noticed that it was more about “Selling Loans” to go to CDL School not about making you a success a a trucker. Another thing that prospective students are not told is that even if you are recruited to train , you may not be able to stay employed after that period because freight does not frequently move from where you live. Many companies will not hire from areas like Michigan & South Florida but they will make you believe that when they sell the loan.

Truck Driver recruiting is a business, Student truckers are a business.

Please take the time to watch “Mind Your Loan Business” while this free link is available.

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                                           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.

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                               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!

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Dan Rather Interview - "Queen of the Road"

Dan Rather Interview - "Queen of the Road"

Big Week Y’all

Yes, I was interviewed by Dan Rather and as it turns out this is not the first time he has covered the American Trucker.

The episode called “Queen of the Road” , was so popular that the Dan Rather Producers made the video FREE which is HUGE for us poor peons who have trouble getting online in the first place. It is also available for purchase on DVD or download on itunes for $1.99, it took a long time to download so I’m glad about the free link. Watch it now :

“Dan Rather Report – \”Queen of the Road\”

Despite a fleet message telling our drivers to NOT talk to media, I know some were eager to find an outlet to share their story.
Here is an email for the Dan Rather Report to share your CDL School Story and/or Training Company Story to the Dan Rather Report viewer@HD.net

A follow up show is planned so please take this opportunity to share your experience.

Most of the feedback has been positive but I have had some haters, the usual suspects of course. One guy from my company who has worked there 8 years showed how he practices his “Commitment to CARE” by calling me some names that Allen & Donna Smith at “Ask the Trucker” did not feel comfortable posting on their site.

Here is a link to the post on “Ask the Trucker” about “Queen of the Road” with comments section. Remember that not even a smidgen of my Student Trucker Story was told on this show because of the time constraints, so before the speculators start speculating you have lots of research to do before you make commentary. Remember, I scattered around the internet to create a puzzle. ( for social media experiment)

I have been busy responding to comments and emails in the last couple days but one of my comments has not been published. It is one that I made  regarding the following article about the ATA response.

In this article on TheTrucker.com I did not have a place to make a comment but it did provide an email to the editor so I wrote the following:

“Subj: Want my comment?
Date: Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:43 pm

To: editor@thetrucker.com

All interviews were cut down for time constraints and many more drivers were interviewed.
As I stated in the HDNet Blog and on the “Ask the Trucker” post, all original
uninvestigated statements I was ASKED to write by my company plus photos, police
report and emails were provided to Dan Rather Report.

I even called the Head of Security of the location where the bleach incident occurred
to ask if anyone from my company has EVER contacted him about my co-driver who threw
bleach on me and was highly intoxicated and took possession of the high dollar freight
that night on I-40 has ever contacted him, he said NO, never has anyone tried to
investigate why an intoxicated driver drove their truck with high security freight
after having several long island ice teas.

That is but ONE complaint in a 9 month training fiasco which is NOT uncommon from
the standpoint of us minions down here behind the wheel.

Thanks,
Desiree”

That’s what I wrote but I have not seen it published anywhere.

The ATA response does prompt some questions , I have copied and pasted a paragraph here:

“The open road has always lured its share of dreamers, and with the trucking industry’s chronic driver shortage, it was an easy match for Desiree Wood,” Rather said, apparently without noting that the industry doesn’t have a driver shortage now and that, in fact, it’s lost almost 200,000 jobs in the past three years.”

It seems that the ATA is upset that Dan Rather did not say that there is NO DRIVER SHORTAGE. This is something Allen Smith has been saying in “Truth about Trucking” for a very longtime.

I know at my company we still get many students each week and so does CRST , so what is happening to the experienced ones?

Also, why don’t the tell the CDL Schools there is no driver shortage and to stop giving loans to people for a job that does not exist?

A good deal of people who have paid to go to truck driving school cannot get a job right now as a truck driver but they still have a loan payment for CDL School, is that fair?

The story is about the “Student Trucker Industry” which includes, selling loans to people under false pretenses, using people to work for less than minimum wage with a promise of a long term career in the trucking industry.

There was a lot cut out from this broadcast and other people did interview and corroborate, I’m pretty confident the ATA, my Company and CRST do not want to hear from those who ended up on the cutting room floor.

One really funny coincidence is that one of the characters in my story was at my CDL School when this camera crew was there, that was not planned. He was in a brand new truck in Miami!

I wonder what he was doing???? recruiting maybe??? Hmmm….. Interesting fer sure.

Anyways, looks like there is going to be a followup show , so KOOL! Right On!

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