January 2006 Letters

How about a minimum wage for truckers?
I first want to thank OOIDA for everything you do for us members and for people who are not members. I’ve got my own authority and have one truck and these cheap freight rates are taking their toll. But I’ve got an idea – its called minimum wage, just like we have for all the rest of the people in the United States.

If a driver could come out of school making 35 to 38 cents a mile, and get mandatory raises as they get time in, it would start a domino. All these companies wouldn’t be able to recruit drivers and pay them cheap wages and charge cheap rates to move freight. 

If their costs went up they would have to charge more to move freight, which in turn would help us independents. I don’t have all the answers but I think this would work with some fine tuning.

Chris Langenkamp
Troy, OH

Run positive, run compliant
We are a one-truck company and we were leased to a flatbed operation. We decided to put ourselves out on the line and go out on our own, in the middle of the unbelievable skyrocketing of fuel prices. 

We are now S.A.S Express and we are loving every minute of the switch. We have found out that there is a lot of freight out there that needs to be moved for a good price. We do not haul for anyone that will not pay a good rate or add fuel surcharge to the rates. I know that it is hard out there and everything is going up in price. 

Everyone needs to keep up the good work and keep your spirits high. We have noticed that rates are going up and everyone that we deal with understands that the independent trucker is out there to try to make a living too.

Yes, we say “NO” to cheap freight. We have also noticed over the years, the companies we were leased to did not tell the whole story. Yes, I mean about what the loads actually pay and how much fuel surcharge you are getting paid. Please do your homework and ask, ask, ask about everything.

H. Lee and Bonnie-Rae Smith
Middleburg, FL

Hoping to be an owner-operator again – someday
As the temperatures cool and it gets down into the 40s at night, I long for those trips out West – to see gold fields of grain waiting to be harvested – or back East to see the spectacular colors of New England trees – that first flake of snow floating from the sky. 

I’m not sure why it’s the cool weather that makes me miss being out on the open road in my own truck, but it does. Maybe after such a long, hot, dry summer here in Missouri it has got me thinking this way.

Reality check. I sold my truck when fuel was $1.50 per gallon; I thought that was too high. Costs go up; profits go down – that same old story. It’s the little guy at the bottom who gets it the worst.

I’m currently earning $15.75 an hour working 60 hours a week. In January, I’ll receive another $1.10 an hour raise. In short, I can’t afford to buy my own truck and go back out on the road. So, for now, it’s a dream.

Maybe some of the other readers can dream along with me – get us a little convoy of dreamers heading west of St. Joseph, MO, on U.S. 36, going nowhere in particular. Just enjoying the ride. Remember it’s the journey. So for now, Mr. Magoo signing off, hoping someday owner-operators will get their due.

George W. Kennedy Jr.
St. Louis, MO

Boycotts – not strikes
As with most small trucking companies, fuel is really putting the hurt on us, but why are diesel prices $3.29 and gas is $2.29? Strikes are not the answer. We all have bills to pay, but with a little organization we can turn this thing around and put the hurt back on the oil companies.

Let’s start with (one) and boycott all their products for three weeks. This would back up everything from their pumps to their oil tankers. Then move on to the next company. That way we all keep rolling. Even the four-wheelers can get involved, and we can show them where the power really is – in the pockets of the American people.

Rudy Knight
Winnsboro, TX

More explanation needed
This statement is for the Silver Fox and anyone else who wants to listen. The Silver Fox (Pete Rigney) made a statement in the October issue of Land Line that retreads don’t have wires in them. This is true, but when a cap comes loose, the whole casing comes loose and brings the wire from the casing with it. When a virgin tire blows the casing doesn’t come apart at first as it takes a few miles of driving before this happens

Mark Neace
Pittsfield, ME

I was hoping you’d do this
Thank you for the insight on chain laws. Land Line answered a lot of questions for me.

Now, I will not put chains on unless I get to a safe place. I have 10 singles; eight’s the max needed with the two spare for Washington state or Oregon. Going to try a dry run on a couple later this afternoon in the warmer and dry weather in Illinois.

Ronald Piper
Peoria, IL

Shippers, receivers are our biggest problem
When is the industry and OOIDA going to take shippers and receivers to task for their delays? The real problem in the industry isn’t regulated and we can’t do anything about it.

I believe that shippers and receivers, when using over-the-road trucks for their freight, should be limited to holding a truck at the dock for only one hour. Any longer should call for severe financial penalties.

I believe this could possibly make the trucks more productive thus making the driver shortage less critical. It could also prove to be a safety improvement because drivers would be using production time actually driving, not waiting.

This being the backbone of our entire country, it should be addressed immediately by our Big Brothers in Washington – instead of pushing down over-the-road drivers by oppressive regulation.

Roger Wallingford
Mount Pleasant, IA

Note from Editor Todd Spencer: No doubt about it, Roger, eliminating the time drivers waste on loading and unloading docks would be the biggest productivity improvement that could happen in trucking.

Many in government know that now, but federal agencies have no say over shippers and receivers. 

The prevailing sentiment in DC today is to let the marketplace sort this out. That means that drivers have to place their own value on their time. 

Detention pay should be a part of every contract of haul. If it isn’t, let that load sit right on the dock.

Trucker wants more voting options
About your “Truckers in the Military” survey, you did not ask how many of us would join the Reserves if we could. I am not in the Reserves for the same reason I do not get to vote.

I transport boats for the military and only get home every two to three months. With all the technology we have today, how is it that I cannot vote online?

I am ex-Navy and also an OOIDA member. Thanks.

Greg Burfiend
Wylie, TX

Note from Editor Todd Spencer: Online voting will likely be an option in the future; meanwhile, absentee voting will have to accommodate most trucker’s needs.

Heartfelt thanks from the Hosty family
My name is Jay W. Hosty from Lakeshore, MS. My family and I are Hurricane Katrina survivors. We rode the storm out at Central Bible Church in Bay Saint Louis, MS, where the water rose to 6 feet in the building. There were 18 people there in the church, and we are all fine. My family and I are now living in a FEMA camper because our home was destroyed. By God’s good grace, we are taking life one day at a time.

The purpose of this letter is to thank this great Association we all belong to called OOIDA. I want to thank each member for your thoughts, prayers and donations. You all have been a blessing to me and my family; we appreciate it more than you will ever know.

God bless you all.

Jay W. Hosty
OOIDA board member
Lakeshore, MS

Editor’s note: Watch for follow-up coverage of the Hosty family’s recovery from Hurricane Katrina in a future issue of Land Line.

‘Thumbs up’ for Iowa safety 
On Sept 25, I was going east on Interstate 80 in Iowa, near the 114-mile marker. I had just blown a tire on the rear right inside trailer. The scale house at the 115-mile marker was open, and I decided to go on into the scale house, where I thought it would be safer to have the tire fixed.

I pulled onto the scale, and the scale master informed me of a flat tire, and in the same breath wanted all my paperwork. I handed it to him and parked my truck.

I proceeded to tell him what I was going to do and he said, “Not my problem, sir.” He gave me a sign-off for the company, and then wrote me a ticket for $63. I asked him what it was all about. He said it was a safety issue.

I guess the next time I should sit alongside of a busy highway instead of pulling onto a scale where you have a lot more room to work. This is the funniest part – the break down of the fines read like this: court costs $30, criminal surcharge $8, fine $25.

My company was good enough to pay all costs. Hope you can give the state of Iowa a big “thumbs up” for safety.

B.K. Graham
Nineveh, IN

Note from Editor Todd Spencer: Hmmm, my first thought was a different digit.

How about a minimum wage for truckers?
I first want to thank OOIDA for everything you do for us members and for people who are not members.

I’ve got my own authority and have one truck and these cheap freight rates are taking their toll. But I’ve got an idea – it’s called minimum wage, just like we have for all the rest of the people in the United States.

If a driver could come out of school making 35 to 38 cents a mile, and get mandatory raises as they get time in, it would start a domino.

All these companies wouldn’t be able to recruit drivers and pay them cheap wages and charge cheap rates to move freight.

If their costs went up they would have to charge more to move freight, which in turn would help us independent drivers. I don’t have all the answers, but I think this would work with some fine tuning.

Chris Langenkamp
Troy, OH

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