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Posts Tagged ‘Violence’

MEDIA CONTACT: Kristine M. Gobbo

561-463-0777, Kristine@spectrum-pr.com

REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. Launches to Advocate for Urgently Needed Industry Changes while Supporting Female Truckers

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (February 11, 2015) – The promise of a fresh start and great pay draws thousands of people, including many women, to become truck drivers, but fundamental flaws in the driver recruiting and training process are putting female truckers, and all drivers on major highways, at risk. A newly launched trade association, REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. (RWIT), is working to change the industry from the inside out, and seeks the community’s help to raise awareness and support for issues that put drivers in danger.

RWIT was initially formed in 2010 by female truckers to protest poor conditions that were not being effectively addressed by the trucking industry. The women found the driver training process to be a harrowing experience, as they received little training, even driving tractor-trailers without proper instruction. Worse, training often included being paired with drivers who verbally and physically abused the women, and made aggressive sexual advances. (more…)

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I just returned from Memphis where I gave a seminar called “Social Media and Women Truckers’ at the 1st Annual Memphis Truck Expo.

Two rather broad topics but I decided to include them in one presentation to illustrate the following:

  1. How powerful social media has been for social justice issues.
  2. To demonstrate how influential individuals can be in social media.
  3. To emphasize that persistently covering up issues related to women truckers and to those women entering the industry will eventually come back to haunt carriers who are permitting it to occur.

In the past few months I have been contacted by a number of Social Media Experts & “Guru’s” who have been consulting with various trucking industry entities who are looking to launch social media campaigns.

For someone outside of the trucking industry who is doing research , odds are they will find one of the outspoken social media truckers.

Here is the problem for the trucking industry:

Social Media cannot be “Controlled” the way mainstream media and advertising has been in the past. The trucking industry has been very slow to understand this.

When I spoke to contacts in supply chain / logistics to let them know about my presentation the response was: “Good, someone needs to tell them because they do not get it.

What this person meant was “Transparency” is what the trucking industry does not get. Saying you are being transparent can just as easily mean you are being a transparent liar but for someone who has never had to do business with all cards on the table this concept is difficult to grasp.

The power of social media is enormous. The first thing the trucking industry needs to recognize is that size does not matter. If your organization does not participate in listening and problem solving you are irrelevant.

Isn’t that logistics?

Unless you have a commitment to positive transparency you will fail in social media. Until the trucking industry can digest that transparency can be positive or negative, I do not recommend wasting any money launching a campaign that will fall flat.

If carriers cannot take the heat in a public forum to have their money source (Shippers) see how they treat employees (Drivers) or how they permit drivers to conduct themselves in public they will have a big problem in social media.

Currently, there are a number of mainstream media projects in development that will feature women truckers. This will inevitably create a recruiting boom for the unethical.

By creating the presentation called “Social Media & Women Truckers”, my hope is to help others in the trucking industry understand that corporate responsibility begins with each and every individual.

What I have referred to as my “Social Media Experiment” to see if one person could have a voice and make an impact is now complete.  I achieved my goal BUT I will continue to create a path for others who are searching for accurate information to enter this industry, at least until I see others stepping up to do the right thing.

Unfortunately, Women are still frequently being harmed during their training period, and violence against women in many areas of the trucking industry remains an issue. I will continue to use my social media presence to raise awareness of this fixable problem.

Ironically, Women Truckers to those outside and away from the trucking industry are admired. The image of a woman trucker is held in high esteem as a symbol of resiliency and strength. I have received emails from parents telling me that they hope their Daughters would grow up to be strong like I am, from old ladies telling me to keep talking and heard from Fathers of Daughters who are eager to see who will step up and make the necessary changes to create a more professional environment in the trucking industry.

I’d like to walk away now but it would be irresponsible to do that when few others are stepping forward. Women truckers carry a silent secret, they know others are being harmed in this industry and the truth is it’s best to not get involved for fear of retaliation. Other drivers, both Men and Women have been told “stay out of it” and targeted for retaliation for trying to stick up for someone who has been harmed, this is wrong. This mob mentality, prison inmate mentality, street gang mentality, religion based fanatic mentality must stop. The people being hurt,  retaliated against, shunned are the children of someone.

To me, being silent is not okay when someone is being harmed.

Looking the other way is NOT okay!

One person can have an impact and individual drivers participating in social media have seen this is true.

I will be sharing my presentation called “Social Media & Women Truckers” as a series of posts in the coming weeks on the self help website “Real Women In Trucking

I have included a preview here called:

What are you Sponsoring?”

Sponsoring Diversity is great, but do your homework. Are you sponsoring a cover up, an advocate or simply looking for a smoke screen to ease the impact of impending litigation? Violence against women is an issue worldwide. Silence equals an endorsement of violence in some male dominated industries.
 
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I guess the studded condom machines are okay though.

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

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

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

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

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

1.   West Memphis, Arkansas Pilot & Petro

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

2.   Ontario, California (West)

Travel Centers of America Notorious drug & prostitution trafficking activity

3.   Atlanta, Georgia  Petro, Pilot

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

4.   Dallas, Texas

Travel Centers of America, Pilot, Loves, Flying J

5.   Jessup Maryland Travel Centers of America

6.   New York everywhere considered unsafe

7.   New Jersey everywhere considered unsafe

8.   Indianapolis, Indiana Flying J

9.   Barstow California Flying J & Travel Centers of America

10. Spartanburg, South Carolina  Travel Centers of America

11.  Carlisle, Pennsylvania Petro

12.  Birmingham, Alabama  Flying J & Pilot

13.  Gary, Indiana ALL

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

14.  East St. Louis Pilot, Gateway Truck Plaza

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

16.  Stoney Ridge, Ohio (ALL)

Travel Centers of America, Pilot, Fuel Mart

17.  Lake Station, Indiana

 Travel Centers of America, Flying J, Road Runner

18.   Knoxville, Tennessee Flying J

19.  Nogales, Arizona  Pilot

20. El Paso, Texas Petro

21. Brownsville, Texas  Gordon’s

22. Hialeah Gardens, Miami ALL

23.Hunts Point, New York Zippy’s

24.Laredo, Texas Travel Centers of America & Gateway

25.Youngstown, Ohio Travel Centers of America & Pilot

26.Phoenix, Arizona Circle K

27. Nashville, Tennessee

Travel Centers of America & Pilot

28. Albuquerque , New Mexico Chevron

29. Amarillo, Texas Pilot

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

31. Memphis , Tennessee Pilot on Lamar

32. Olive Branch, Mississippi Loves, Pilot

33. Houston, Texas Key Truck Stop & Truckers Paradise

34. Little Rock, Arkansas Petro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional Reading:

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

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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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Women in Trucking

 

Where has the Non-Profit Organization, “Women in Trucking” been in all of this?  Well, that will be my next cronicle if I can ever finish my student trucker story.  I joined “Women in Trucking” as soon as I had chance to get to a computer in 2008. I was under the impression that the Mission Statement on the front page of the website was accurate.

I observed the climate for a period of time before I ever posted. It most certainly did not seem very friendly but the immediate positive response from other truckers on Allen Smith’s “Ask the Trucker” who were both male and female persuaded me to reach out to Char Pingel and tell her about what had been happening to me AFTER I went through the chain of command and into the arms of the HR Lady in my story.

Char told me to post on the “Women in Trucking” forum and I did. I started a thread called “My NEW experience might help you.

This thread has the most reads of any thread on the WIT Forum which at last count was over 3000! From day 1 I was attacked publically on the WIT forum by Sandy Long aka Lady Godiva . In a series of private emails I was further dismissed and basically told that they run people off like me who want to publically discuss what I was seeing with my own two eyes happen to Women who were entering the trucking industry for the first time.

Remember, I entered as a single Woman, not with a Husband or Boyfriend. I do not come from a trucking family. I was totally reliant on my CDL School Training, My Company Support System and My Trainer to provide me the tools to be successful. So far, none of them had come through for me but I wasn’t going to quit.

I first called Char Pingel and told her that a public cat fight is detrimental to ALL Women and she agreed but nothing was done. Later, I began emailing Ellen Voie about the fact that her forum seemed to be commandeered by Lady Godiva who actually has shown time and again that she does not like other Women. I was called names that were meant to label me and be derogatory but all the names were in fact, all different types of Women!  It made me wonder, “What kind of Women are allowed to be supported in “Women in Trucking”?

After many calls and emails to Ellen Voie and watching her tweet about getting her CDL but never actually operating a Big Rig herself, I saw that she had an aversion to the hard questions that are of the upmost importance for new females entering trucking. Is she an Advocate? or a Carpetbagger?

Here are a sampling of screen shots made from Ellen’s Twitter tag  @WomeninTrucking (Caution: Ellen Deletes stuff after I publish it but I have the screen shots on my hard drive) *** Note: These are in reverse order as they are Twitter Stream Tweets

WomenInTrucking

89. I am traveling out west with my boyfriend, and I am
so happy that I can handle a 38 foot 5th wheel trailer!
3:33 PM Jan 22nd from web
     
90. The Trucker ran a story about my getting my CDL
http://www.thetrucker.com 9:55 AM Jan 18th from web
     
91. I did not have to take a written or practical test to
transfer my Ohio CDL to Wisconsin. 4:25 PM Jan
15th from web
     
92. I completed the driving test in Ohio, then came back
to Wisconsin and transferred my license. I am now a
CLD holder! 4:24 PM Jan 15th from web
     
93. I passed!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I got my CDL today. 8:22 AM Jan
9th from txt
     
94. This week I will be returning to Canton Ohio to take
my driving test over. I’m scheduled for 8 am
Thursday. Wish me luck! 2:42 PM Jan 6th from web
     
95. I made a left turn and the light down the road turned
green in my turn, so he claims that I made them slow
down. Darn! I’ll be back! 9:49 AM Dec 22nd, 2008
from web

96. So, the bad news is that the examiner did not pass me
on the driving test. He said that I impeded traffic. 9:48
AM Dec 22nd, 2008 from web
     
97. I took my CDL test on Saturday. I passed the pre-trip
with an 89 out of 90. I passed the skills test also
(parallel parking was not fun!) 9:47 AM Dec 22nd,
2008 from web
     
98. Today is the day. I am up early, after spending the
night in Canton. My test is at 8 am. Next time I log in
I hope to have my CDL! 4:08 AM Dec 20th, 2008
from web
     
99. This afternoon I was able to get my last hour of
driving time in to complete my 10 hours of driving. It
was slushy outside. 5:20 PM Dec 19th, 2008 from web
     
100. The freezing rain caused us to stay in the classroom
all morning. We watched videos and practiced our
pretrip inspection by memory. 10:26 AM Dec 19th,

I spent my own meager salary on two occasions to attend trucking conventions to meet Ellen Voie in person to see for myself. Is she only trying to collect a paycheck from a non-profit organization off the backs of Real Women Truckers or what?

On a number of occasions she had told me that “WE” cannot say anything disparaging about certain companies because “they might be our sponsers”. That’s pretty sick when you consider that CRST is one of them.

When time permits I will chronicle all the emails, all the bullying, all reasons that the idea of a Women’s Trucking Organization is wonderful but in order to be responsible it is imperative to be clear that you WILL NOT help those entering Trucking if they get raped, beaten or harrassed. It is esspecially important because of the frequent radio appearences made by Ellen Voie that encourage Women to use her book as a guide to help them through CDL Training.

That is not radical feminism, it just being clear that you represent the industry, not the Women who drive the actual Truck.

Allen Smith did two shows on the topic of “Bullying in the Workplace” both of those links for the archived shows are in my FAQ section. The topic was in part inspired by the CRST Sexual Harrassment Case which was occuring at the same time the situation on the WIT forum was going on. Remarks putting down other Women and making Judgements on Women were frequent. One particular thread commented on was about how a crocheted valance had been seen on a big rig and this was looked down upon, as that female was just advertising her presence. This was sort of funny because at the same time a female crocheting trucker on Twitter seemed like she could handle herself pretty well if someone came to give her any shit about her hobby.

I delibrately persisted on the WIT forum. I wanted to see for myself and for the other Women who had been contacting me what sort of support WIT truly could offer to overcome obstacles in their trucking carreer. 

Ellen Voie was invited to participate in these radio programs. She even had us rearrange the schedule to accomadate her schedule, which we did. Unfortunately, she later declined citing her lawyer advised her against it, but she would love to do a follow-up show.

In Las Vegas, the general consensus from Women Truckers I met is that Ellen Voie is not doing anything for Women Truckers.  She did manage to land a reality TV Producer though, but that’s actually not too hard if you have ever been to Vegas or anywhere in California. You just have to be willing to make an ass of yourself on TV. Selling the idea of Women Truckers very easy but the image Ellen & the ATA are trying to sell the general public may not be helping Real Women Truckers at all.

In Dallas, Ellen Voie took credit for something she had absolutely nothing to do with and in fact wanted no part in asking for a company to address the subject matter. I had seen her do this with articles as well. I was beginning to get the picture.

As I get time I will chronicle all of this because what she is doing is actually detrimental to Women. There is a problem in the trucking industry for female students and Ellen is recruting them with her book and radio appearences, therefore she needs to clarify to these women that should they be harmed, she is not the person to go to.

Please watch this Video Clip in Ellen’s own words for and upcoming documentry on Bullying in the Workplace by filmaker Beverly Peterson.

Like I told Ellen Voie in a recent email, “I support Women in Trucking but I do not Support a Women who has never driven a truck making money off the backs of those who do, there in a name for that you know!”

Also, I am including this post I made about the CRST Sexual Harrassment Case which is Ellen Voie’s Sponser. It is from this post I came to know Tracey Tuttle-Hamm and “OKCSafety” who is “Tom” in the Dan Rather Segment called “Queen of the Road”  read it HERE

 

 

 

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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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