Dissecting The Pay Issue For Truckers

by Troy Diffenderfer
(Lancaster, PA)

It’s no secret that one of the most hotly debated topics in the trucking industry deals with the amount of compensation that truckers are getting for his or her services. Let’s face it, we all want to make more money, but the real question is whether or not we deserve it, and whether the trucking company can increase wages without compromising the quality of service. This issue has left many divided over whether or not an increase in pay would be beneficial for the trucking industry as a whole. When dissecting the pay issue for truckers, it’s important to look at the benefits of the industry as a whole and not just the benefits of each individual driver. Below we’ve broken things down.

Dissecting The Pay Issue For Truckers
Already Getting Paid
While many assume that truckers are looking for their first raise in a long while, this is actually not true. In fact, a study done by Glassdoor found that trucker wages have been steadily increasing over the last few years, with the biggest month-to-month increase coming in at almost 8% last year. With a driver shortage forcing trucking companies to present a more attractive career and improving the economic landscape, trucking companies have, in fact, been increasing wages for their truckers over the years.
Pay For All of Their Time
Despite an increase in wages, many truckers feel that it’s unfair to not be paid for all of the time that they spend on the road. The system of compensating only by mileage is antiquated because some carriers just pay the drivers when the wheels are moving, not for their time when they are filling out paperwork, fueling their trucks or waiting to be loaded or unloaded. Many truckers feel that this is unfair because, despite their rig not being in motion, they are still performing tasks that are part of the job requirements. Many truckers feel like these companies are essentially getting free labor, while the companies themselves are pointing to the already increased wages as an answer. In fact, here are just a few things that truckers are not paid for:

• Sitting in traffic jams
• Waiting at customs, border crossings
• Loading and unloading time delays
• DOT scales and DOT inspections
• Extra time weighing and scaling a load
• Performing circle checks on truck and trailer
• Company safety meetings and seminars
• Weather delays
• Making arrangements for company equipment breakdowns and waiting for repair, when on the road
The ELD Solution
One piece of technology might just solve the pay issue for many truckers. Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) have the ability to track truckers via GPS as well as monitor fuel usage, mileage, and many other aspects of trucking, leading many companies to believe that they will be able to properly calculate the appropriate wages for each trip. However, many truckers still feel like this technology overlooks all of the little things that they do and the time they spend stuck on the road. These truckers are encouraging companies to switch from a per-mile pay scale to an hourly one that will compensate truckers for all of their time.
Final Thoughts
While it’s unlikely that there’s a full-proof way to make everyone happy, it’s still important that both truckers and trucking companies work together for a compromise. If trucking companies have data that shows that a pay increase will actually hurt the quality of the industry, then show it. If truckers can make a case that these steady pay increases simply aren’t enough, then they should present why they think that they deserve an increase in wages. Either way, communication will be key when coming to a final solution to the pay issue for truckers.

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