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TwitterSocial Media has given a voice to individuals and this includes truck drivers that recognize arguing with one another solves nothing, BUT united efforts when there is a call to action DOES.
We learned between 2009 and 2013 that Facebook posts and Twitter posts directly to elected officials pages could elicit a response since these posts are public and ignoring them is bad social media etiquette (manners).
We also learned that there are many elected officials who seem to be in the pocket of the trucking lobby.
Too often the truck drivers with their limited ability to get accurate timely information while they are out on the road miss deadlines to make critical calls , send letters or an email to their elected officials on important legislation that can affect their livelihood.
In an attempt to educate truck drivers on how to use social media in addition to calling their elected officials to either oppose or support legislation, we wanted to provide you with a few pointers. With the link below you can find tips on calling your elected officials when you see a “Call To Action” that indicates your immediate attention is required to work together for a united cause that affects the truck driver population.
See Link: “Tips for Calling Your Member of Congress”. Remember to ask for the “Transportation Staffer”. Sometimes the person on the phone will take the information themselves. Give your directive on the purpose of your call as detailed in the link I have provided. They should ask for your zip code and you should be prepared to state what bill or amendment and the section you are calling about and which way you want the elected official to vote on it.
If you do not know who your elected representative is you can look them up with this link using your zip code:
Once you have located the name of your representative, you can either call the main Capitol Switchboard 202–224-3121 to be connected to their offices or look up their direct number with this link: Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives
I suggest you keep the number programmed in your phone for future “Call To Action” events that we post on our Facebook page “REAL Women in Trucking, Inc.” and you should look up your Senators numbers as well. Find Your Senator
Since trucking is heavily regulated it is important to become familiar with the members of the very powerful Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Some of the members of this committee have deep “friendships” with the trucking lobby.
Truck drivers must realize that the trucking lobby does not serve truck drivers, they serve the carriers that pay them to lobby against things like better pay, more safe truck parking and intelligent hours of service that would be safer for truck driver flexibility.
Unfortunately elected officials do not want to hear from people that are not their constituents (people whose votes affect them) through their websites and office lines. This makes them very insulated from how the trucking lobby is hurting the truck drivers with their persuasive techniques.
This is why social media is a powerful tool for truck drivers.
If you are on Twitter or Facebook you can publicly voice your opposition or support regardless of where your voting jurisdiction is located. I suggest you use hashtags in these posts that include the state abbreviation and #politics #congress #senate just to name a few since many people outside trucking follow these tweet timelines.
You can always just commit yourself to “ReTweeting” the posts from our @WomenTruckers tag when you see that we are participating in a “Call To Action”. The objective is to create a ruckus that cannot be ignored. Elected officials do not like controversy. They often do not like the public to become educated on whom they are “in bed”.
Below I have compiled a list of Twitter tags of all members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
During a “Call To Action” not only should you call your elected representatives by phone, you should tweet them directly and/or post on Facebook to their official page even when they are not in your election zip code to let them know of your position. This will also educate people who ARE in their voting zip code know about legislation that is going on behind closed doors and they might begin to support our causes locally.
When just a few truck drivers and their supporters work together to “ReTweet” and share these posts in social media it brings much needed attention to prevent underhanded lobbying.
I hope you will all use these twitter tags for upcoming “Call To Action” alerts and please refrain from profanity and threats when making your posts.
Here is the list:
Twitter Tags for the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee @Transport
 Members:
@RepBillShuster PA (he is the head of this committee)
Alphabetically with a state abbreviation hashtag
@RepDonYoung #AK
@RepRickCrawford #AR
@RepKirkpatrick #AZ
@RepMimiWalters #CA
@Rep_Hunter #CA
@GraceNapolitano #CA
@RepGaramendi #CA
@RepJeffDenham #CA
@Rep_JaniceHahn #CA
@RepHuffman #CA
@JuliaBrownley26 #CA
@RepEsty #CT
@EleanorNorton #DC
@RepCurbelo #FL
@RepJohnMica #FL NOTE: John Mica has protected tweets & does not LISTEN on twitter. This is a sign of arrogance and lack of transparency. Regardless, I tweet to his tag and use the @Congressdotgov tag along with it so someone hears what I am saying to him
@RepCorrineBrown #FL
@LoisFrankel #FL
@RepWebster #FL
@RepRobWoodall #GA
@RodneyDavis #IL
@RepLipinski #IL
@RepBost #IL
@RepCheri #IL
@RepAndreCarson #IN
@ToddRokita #IN
@RepThomasMassie #KY
@RepGarretGraves #LA
@MikeCapuano #MA
@RepCummings #MD
@RepDonnaEdwards #MD
@CandiceMiller #MI
@RepSamGraves #MO
@USRepRickNolan #MN
@RepLeeZeldin #NY
@RepJerryNadler #NY
@RepRichardHanna #NY
@RepJohnKatko #NY
@RepSeanMaloney #NY
@RepSires #NJ
@RepLoBiondo #NJ
@RepDavidRouzer #NC
@RepMarkMeadows #NC
@RepHardy #NV
@RepDinaTitus #NV
@RepBobGibbs #OH
@RepPeterDeFazio #OR
@RepLouBarletta #PA
@RepRyanCostello #PA
@RepScottPerry #PA
@RepSanfordSC #SC
@RepJohnDuncanJr #TN
@RepCohen #TN
@RepBrianBabin #TX
@RepEBJ #TX
@Farenthold #TX
@RepComstock #VA
@RepRickLarsen #WA
@RepRibble #WI
Here are a few extras:
Congress @Congressdotgov
@GOPOversight @Jasoninthehouse #UT
@HouseJudiciary @RobGoodlatte #VA
Thanks for your help!
Sincerely,
Desiree Wood
President

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                                                                                                                                                        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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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.

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                                    The US Xpress Incident

Let your conscience be your guide

Recently I read this comment: “If you don”t respect the person, respect the position”. Here is my question :  How many times are you supposed to R-E-S-P-E-C-T a position when you realize the position is using others who they are supposed to be representing?

     We are fortunate to live in America where we are permitted to voice our opinions. We are allowed to question authority, within reason.

    Since I began writing my student trucker story I have received many emails from people thanking me for taking the time to speak out and educate newcomers about potential obstacles they were not getting from participating in other forums.

   My desire to have a job like trucking was because I am at a place in my life where I want to be alone. I don’t want to be anyones Boss, Mother, Wife, or Girlfriend. I don’t want to be in charge of anything except me and my job. I want to work, be left alone and use my free time to do things I like to do.

   This journey into the trucking industry corruption should have stopped with my student trucker story but the level of misconduct was so great, I had to continue exploring & revealing what I found.

    Honestly, I found more than I can even stomach to print publically because the conduct is so gross.  My conscience as usual obligates me. I share just enough information for those who want understand how misleading recruitment advertising is before they get themselves in too far. These “Dog and Pony” Organizations are contributors to a dangerous set of circumstances already set in motion.

     The more revelations I have shared in this tale, those who had once Cyber-Stalked & attempted to Bully, even those who made Physical threats to my person are now blogging about how they are victims.

It’s funny how the tables turn. These same people who felt it was okay when they perceived me as a target small and weak justified their actions.  Now that same lynch mob seems to be crying “Victim” when faced with a Mouse that ROARED.

We elect people who make us promises to makes changes we hope will better our lives. We join organizations to support goals we believe in. What happens when we find those leaders are not doing the job they promised? What should we do when we find out they have lied, covered up and participated in misconduct that is egregious to the mission statement that we can no longer support them?

How many times do you catch someone in a flat out lie before you say enough!? How many promises before you go your own way?

What if those leaders are absent of ethics but the mission is so good and the level of confusion created so great that good intentions are being made fools?

It is only natural that as the topics I have unraveled are finally spoken about publically that ethical companies will want to sign on to fix the problem and no longer sweep it under the rug.

But sign up for what? With who?  Do people in Supply Chain Logistics want to be associated with Trucking Companies who have no level of conduct to prevent Rape, Violence, Harassment and Retaliation in their training?

Is sponsoring a “Feel Good” organization like “Women in Trucking” enough to slap the logo on your site and move on?

Increased Recruitment of Women into Trucking and Transportation is admirable but the longtime problem is not gone. This needs to be publically addressed, training needs to be implemented and enforced.

It is not my job to do this but unfortunately no one who is getting paid to do this job wants to take on the topic because it is unpopular.

This is a dilemma, if fitting into a primarily male dominated industry is more important than the mission statement for which your non-profit status indicates you exist. The result of compliant complacency: Rape, Violence, Retaliation. That’s sorta hard for me to walk away from. I don’t want to “fit in” if that is the trade off.

Truthfully, there are more Men who support the notion of better training and support for both Men and Women entering trucking. The problem is they are not getting the proper information so the entire mission is a lose-lose for everyone.

I was confused myself when I joined “Women in Trucking” and was stalked online. I was told quite frankly that they have seen “my kind” before and they chase “those kind” off.

“My kind” being people who think women should not be recruited into an industry where they are put in highly dangerous intimate situations to be raped or beat up. Which results in the added trauma of retaliation for reporting it to their HR Department.

There were so many conflicting messages I needed to understand to discover the truth. The primary voice on the WIT forum was never Ellen Voie but rather Sandy Long who was my main attacker.

Sandy has a good deal of trucking experience any newcomer would be fortunate to find but the professionalism was lacking.

It seemed from an outsider’s perspective that Sandy resented Ellen and she was taking it out on me. The evidence was in the posts Ellen made during that period and the responses from Sandy.

It was disheartening because Ellen’s disconnected nature to the seriousness of the issues and Sandy’s passion for trucking were both misdirected, until an issue came about with Canadian Trucking Magazine which depicted Women Truckers in a manner that most everyone agreed was in poor taste.

This was the first time I saw the small group of Women actually work effectively to make a difference in what image was being projected. It was a success for “Women in Trucking” despite the fact that the response from the magazine showed they did not “get it”.

That weekend I attended the Las Vegas Truck Show to meet with an international documentary filmmaker and this was the first time I met Ellen Voie of “Women in Trucking”.

I happen to sitting in the booth of an APU manufacturer located next to the US Xpress Recruitment Booth and noticed they not only were handing out WIT brochures but also had girls in their booth that were dressed in less than models from the Canadian Truck Magazine.

I thought it was odd that Ellen Voie who was one aisle away would not say anything being that she had just had this victory. When I went to introduce myself she right away stated she felt that the WIT member who wrote the original complaint had overreacted.

Is this my advocate? She is apologizing? She is embarrassed in some way?

The filmmaker came to me later and asked me what I thought and I said honestly, I don’t know what to make of her. She really does not seem to care about Women in Trucking to me.

The filmmaker, who had spent several days there filming truckers confided that the general consensus by Women Truckers she had filmed in Vegas was that Ellen Voie was doing nothing but promoting herself.

I was still unclear, I snapped pictures of the US Xpress booth but I said nothing to Ellen.   

I was not aware that a woman from Twitter named Kathleen Wells had taken photos of the US Xpress Booth and had sent them to Jason Cox at @TruckDriverNews who at the time was working closely with a group of activist drivers.

Jason made a post with the photos in two places, his personal blog and on the Lexington Kentucky Examiner. I felt the posts were too hasty but they did reflect what actual Truckers were saying about Ellen Voie.

I’d felt some of Jason’s remarks in his blog and other forums where he posted should have included some additional research before he posted the articles. I told Jason I could not comment on what he said. I had also had an argument with another fellow who jumped to quickly on the bandwagon about Ellen Voie’s intentions. I was not clear what was going on yet and I didn’t want to endorse frenzy. This is a very serious matter to me; it is not an ego-driven mission.

After I left Vegas I received an email from Ellen about renewing my membership. I called Donna Smith from “Ask the Trucker” to ask her if she was going to renew and she said “No, she had seen and heard enough over there”. I was still optimistic and in order to post on the forum I had to remain a member. I also knew at some point Ellen would show who she was committed to, Women or Sponsors.

I had just received a copy of Logistics Quarterly that had an article by Ellen Voie on the very topic of Convention Exhibit Booths using females to recruit dressed in the manner as I had just seen in Las Vegas.  I decided to call her cell and take the opportunity to ask her point blank about CRST being her sponsor and why she was not confident enough to pull her brochures from the US Xpress Booth just days after she pulled her articles from the Canadian Truck Magazine for basically the same thing.

First she told me that there was more than one division to CRST. So I asked her which division was her sponsor. She seemed confused and as it turned out it was the division named in the sexual harassment lawsuit.

I then asked her if she saw the US Xpress booth and she said yes and they were also her sponsor. I did not know this. I said why not just say, “Hey, I’m really not wanting my brochures here because this marketing message is not what we want to portray under the current circumstances”.

She admitted she had board members who felt she should be more aggressive with US Xpress about their marketing package but she said she even went to have beers with the marketing director and he said that this is what works for them and they had no plans to change it.

Ellen Voie went on to say that she just had to do it her own way despite the admission that she was feeling pressure from her own board. I told her I didn’t think a marketing director would take her too seriously if she was out for beers with him and asking him to not use women in hot pants to recruit. I told her she probably had more power than she realizes but she has to use it or be used. Ellen stated again she just had to do things her way, I said “Well, I will do things my way and see what we can do.”

After that conversation I called Jason Cox and sent him the photo I had taken to add to the one Kathleen Wells had already sent of the “Camo Girls” which Jason mislabeled as “Cameo Girls” (another story) and the article was circulated on Twitter. The article was called: “Women in Trucking are Truck Drivers Too

Jason had told me that Ellen had subscribed to his blog after he had written his first post about her. He had received an email from a Canadian Job Recruiter in response to that post which was meant to defend her. Jason didn’t know what to make of it but it made sense later because I was suspecting she benefited from her recruitment strategies not from making changes to existing conditions. A job placement agency would perceive Ellen Voie very differently than actual Women Truckers experiencing a trauma. He also had a comment from a man but it was obvious to us it was not really a man. The IP address was from Kansas City Missouri. We both concluded who that was, one of my Cyber-Bullies from WIT.

Of the two articles written by Jason Cox about the US Xpress Booth the comments on his blog drew some interesting debate on the topic and he had a couple hundred hits to the post in a short time. The final message being, the spokes models did less recruiting and more entertaining of the marketing guys. The Female US Xpress representative looked uncomfortable and embarrassed to have to sit in the booth appearing like a 5th wheel on a double date.

US Xpress from my understanding has Sexual Harassment Training and I had spoken to a driver/former trainer who told me quite a bit about their policies. He was surprised really that his company was represented this way in a convention.

As it turned out, so was the upper management at US Xpress who received the Article that Jason Cox wrote using the photographs from Kathleen Wells.

I learned that Ellen Voie utilized the article from the Lexington Examiner by Jason Cox without the comments from Kathleen Wells but with her photographs a few days later on the WIT forum. This post like many others since I have been exposing this story has now been removed. In it she stated she forwarded the article to the US Xpress brass and they responded that it would not happen again. WOW! How easy was that? Right On… Right?

Seeing is believing though: In August 2009 at the Dallas Truck Show the US Xpress booth had Women in Khakis and Polo Shirts with a Wheel of Fortune game as a recruiting tool for giveaways. They had a line of people of all shapes sizes and genders at that booth.

What a testament! They were made aware, they adapted and they found success. Simple Courage to take action was all that was needed.

The Dallas Truck Show was also where the Dan Rather Producers met me for the first time and Beverly Petersen from the yet to be released “Bully in the Workplace” Documentary who interviewed me and Ellen Voie. WATCH ELLEN VOIE REMARKS HERE

Ellen was also filmed by the Dan Rather Producers but she did not know they knew about me.

We had our plates full in Dallas because the recently snubbed Widow Hope Rivenburg who arrived with 5 month old twins and a 2 year old in tow were also in Dallas to promote Jason’s Law – The Safe Trucker Parking Bill with very little help from the Big Guns of the trucking industry.

In fact, she was actually told NOT to come to Dallas by “leaders” in the industry meant to silence her passion to see that the truck parking shortage should be addressed so no other family would have to endure the senseless murder as she and her children have to live with.

The efforts to recreate a single female trucker with a dog was also apparent as I mention in my @TruckinDogKarma post by the trucking Industry prior to the Dallas convention.

This is why “Karma” was crowned the “iPhone Trucker App Mascot”, not for money, not for fame … only because all sides of the industry were trying to recreate me in media and make an more complacent, accommodating @TruckerDesiree. The reason is that each layer I have explored has exposed a good deal of unethical behavior and I have been opening a can of worms for a lot of people in trucking.

Anyone who has been following me on Twitter knows I have a little marketing magic up my sleeve which squashed those attempts.  The next strategy was to attack my credibility and/or take credit for whatever I was able to achieve from my “Bleating” as @DiamondsMama40 refers to it. (Gloria Torbich My first online stalker from WIT aka “Greenpete”)

By the time of the Dallas Truck Show, I had a falling out with Jason Cox who from what I understand received some “persuasion”.

The once #1 advocate & Champion for “Jason’s Law” was now against it. Shortly thereafter he emerged promoting a membership to an organization he could not afford, for an industry he cannot participate in any longer and was now a “Women in Trucking” Supporter. Add that up yourself.

I had been invited to the “Women in Trucking” hospitality room but I didn’t want to attend unless we could crash with Hope Rivenburg and press Ellen Voie on why she did not support safe trucker parking or this young Widow when she herself was once a trucker’s wife.

The events were so tightly scheduled that Donna Smith and I opted to go to the Midnight Trucking offerings instead but ran into Ellen Voie in the hallway who had a small group of people with her.

She seemed nervous to see me and was quick to say her hospitality room shindig was already over, I had no intentions of going but for some reason she said wanted to let me know that info. Then she became very excited and said “Desiree, did you see the US Xpress Booth?” I replied “Yes, I did” then Ellen threw up her arms and said before her hallway audience “That’s another Success for Women in Trucking”. The same incident and company’s actions that she defended were now HER victory for their change of “recruiting tactics!

I was stunned and looked at Donna Smith of “Ask the Trucker” Our collective thoughts were “No She Didn’t!” but the eyes of the bystanders where what really got me. These were people who truly believe Ellen Voie is an advocate for change in the trucking industry. These are people who want to believe they have signed up for a courageous leader and she flat out lied.

This is the Trucking Woman’s Advocate? Having beers with “the boys” and agreeing with their scantily dressed women recruiting tactics in Las Vegas! Using her convention time to solicit reality shows rather than discuss better training, violence awareness and other compliance tools available NOW to help Women entering Trucking become successful? I paid a membership for this?

Not only that, she disappeared very quickly after she said it and it wasn’t until the next day I learned the Dan Rather Producers were in the Hospitality room filming her speech.

Ellen Voie was eager to be filmed by Beverly Petersen for the “Bully in the Workplace” Documentary; I was there when she accepted without missing a beat. I think she felt very confident about her statements at the time not knowing Dan Rather knew about me.

Ellen Voie has a gift to repackage something and claim it as her success but the integrity is missing. The performance I saw her give in the hallway that night for those sponsors and finding out that the “Jason’s Law” brochures we asked her display were put under her table were as much about her personal character as I ever wanted to know.

  I never posted on the WIT site again. I was truly disgusted that this person was the representative for members and sponsors who truly believe she gives a damn. I am unclear if there are WIT board members who have a true vision to enforce change or if the entire organization has been created simply to cover up and ease the impact AFTER the EEOC makes charges on trucking companies.

Unfortunately unethical behavior in the corporate world is acceptable, that is why I choose to drive a truck despite my many talents beyond driving.

Street smarts only gets you so far in trucking, you have to know a little corporate Genghis Khan action also, that’s what I‘ve learned about the trucking industry. “Industry” is a KEYWORD, that is a big difference from “Driver”.

The precursor to “Women in Trucking” appears to be “The National and International Women’s Trucking Association, or WTA” and their Mission seems to address the issue for Women Truckers facing Violence.

The named President: Sandy Long with the following Mission:

     “We are the first National & International Women’s Trucking Association dedicated to the betterment of Women in the Trucking Industry in North America.

The WTA was formed to provide women truck drivers a safe and secure site in order that they can find knowledge to help them become professional drivers, instill in them the professionalism needed to promote the positive aspects of the industry and to give them aid as they need it to combat sexual harassment and/or problems inherent to their jobs and personal lives.

Furthermore, we will promote the trucking industry
by providing accurate data, statistics, and
information to the industry and the general public in
regards to women in the trucking industry by internet, personal contact, appearances at seminars, and in contacting industry and governmental leaders.”

So what happened?

This organization never seemed to take off . Did someone come in and encourage complacency to get these ladies to quiet down? Is “Women in Trucking” just a “Feel Good” Organization to ease the blow after the fact? Is this a cover up organization?

Now that Anne Ferro is in office at the FMCSA and Ellen Voie got a “Hook Up” can “Women in Trucking” members trust their spokeswoman to speak up? Is this just a Photo Op? A chance to give away free T-Shirts, take a picture for the Guinness World Record Books at the Salute to Women behind the Wheel” for the Mid-America Trucking Show?

This is a very serious matter when someone who you elect to represent you is not addressing the major concern which is Rape, Violence & Retaliation UNTIL I made it a potential marketing opportunity. There are no guarantees that any “Best Practices” being phished out will be enforced.  Even greater issue is when pressed on this topic Ellen Voie is uncomfortable, uninformed and dismissive just as she was with the “Trucker Buddy” Pedophile incident. She is not equipped nor does she want to be for these matters, but that will not make them go away.

Ellen Voie revoked my membership when she learned I would be on the Dan Rather Report investigative series. The very revealing Bully in the Workplace Video truly exposes the truth about what Ellen Voie believes which is that there really isn’t that much of a problem.

A woman who is this uncomfortable with the truth should not be an advocate. There is no reason women truckers should be buying memberships to be represented in this manner. Support and Enforcement should not vary depending on marketability unless you have ZERO Conscience.

I keep hoping a true leader will emerge who has the balls for this mission. I do not wish to spend my every waking moment providing a conscience for people who don’t seem to have one. I will continue to expose this outside of the trucking industry to human rights groups, logistics and supply chain professionals until I find true leaders who care to make a difference.

Too many people are being intentionally misled.

A number of  Women are coming forward to write their stories and make you tube accounts of their experiences.

This will be continued ….

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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 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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Jason’s Law Survey

 

On October 1st, 2009 U. S Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY 21) joined the Twitter Misfits on “Truck Star Radio” who Support H.R. 2156 & S 971 “Jason’s Law” for Safe Trucker Parking to clarify the misinformation being spread by the underdeveloped brain of my FANatic  @TerenceSmelser  . (You are finally getting a plug Terry that should get your little ding a ling stiff)

It was following the “Distracted Driving Summit” in Washington D.C. that Mr. Tonko assured our active group that indeed “The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease” and to continue to do what we have been doing to spread the word about “Jason’s Law”.  I joined @DanielAudet on “Truck Star Radio” to ask Congressman Tonko who was Onboard so far and what we needed to do to help get this bill more attention.

Some of the cheap shots from the FANatics have been to make light of the loss of Jason Rivenburg which prompted Hope Rivenburg, his young Widow to defend her Husband’s memory. It was a sickening display and watching our trucking industry leaders sit back while she did so was even more repulsive.

While some may not understand the relevance of our participation in the “Distracted Driving Summit”, those in Washington D.C. most certainly did.  Not only did my dog @TruckinDogKarma get a @replies from the Summit on #WoofWednesday, I received an encouraging “Direct Message” in my Twitter account which happened to be one of my most favorite quotes.

“Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History” ~ Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, followed by “Go Get Em”

So there you have it, our squeaking will continue to distract and we are not driving when we are doing it.

I 100% Support the @DontTwive Campaign because it seems like everyone is doing something other than paying attention to the road while they are behind the wheel these days. I’m not sure if anyone has noticed lately but if you look UP, our highways already have cameras every mile or so watching YOU, so #TweetSafe.

Back to “Jason’s Law”, the arrogant attempts to spread misinformation hit a peak last week with some unlikely participants showing they truly do not gather their own information but follow along like “Sheeple”, a term my friend @Longhawl likes to use.

In hopes of providing a credible source to make one’s own determination, @Longhawl took the time to include the text of H.R. 2156 “Jason’s Law” on the website he shares with @RockingJude called “Project World Awareness”.

Upon reading the text of the bill you can also follow the progress of H.R. 2156 & S 971 on Open Congress link provided at the lower left corner, or click here. Open Congress for Jason’s Law

In addition, he has provided us a quick 3 question SURVEY that cannot be spammed to test our knowledge on the funding of this pilot program that is called “Jason’s Law”.

Please share these links together or individually on your site, facebook, twitter anywhere you like. I have put all these brown links here for you to share the information. I do not put things here to take credit but to make it easy for others to find information.

As always, Allen & Donna Smith are putting their personal time and effort into an upcoming “Blog Talk Radio” show that will comb through the upcoming Transportation Bill to further dispel the ignorant claims being spread.

Please visit “Ask the Trucker” to learn about other archived shows regarding “Jason’s Law” that feature additional background information about Jason Rivenburg from his Uncle Timothy Hardendorf who did much of the research to bring this bill forward.

Hope Rivenburg has made a Twitter account for both @JasonsLaw and herself @HopeRivenburg , she is a spunky little fighter who I am proud to have met. She is blessed with a strong family support system and she will need them as the trial approaches for the scumbags who murdered her Husband.

Please educate YOURSELF on H.R. 2156 & S 971 and if you have questions please contact Congressman Paul Tonko’s Office for the FACTS.

You can also find out who has signed on to be a C0-Sponser of “Jason’s Law” by becoming a FAN on Facebook, Just by clicking here

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