Sunday, August 5, 2007

Greatwide hauls for "big names"

I read this article in the business section of the Dallas Morning News about how well this company treats its drivers. How they go the extra mile (no pun intended) to keep their owner operators happy so they don't leave. How they offer this wonderful health insurance program that is unprecedented in the field. Amazing how executives for any given corporation like to toot their own horn like that. What I find truly amazing is that a newspaper would print such one-sided information.

Do they even check the validity of the claims made by the subject in question? Are the editors so desperate for stories that they will print anything that is put before them? The reason I ask is because I know someone that drives for this company. The picture isn't as pretty as these executives try to paint it. Their health benefits are mediocre at best. You can get better health insurance going directly through any other avenue, including the internet.

Trucking isn't for everyone, I understand that. In the article it states that the trade has a lot of baby boomers retiring and nobody left to fill their driving places. Yes, the meal ticket for these conglomerates behind the trucking industry is running as low as the local food bank supply.

The trucking industry concerns each and every one of us or should - because we all benefit from the fruits of their labor. Look around you, every single thing you use every day was delivered by a truck driver. Maybe not to your place of residence, no - nevertheless, if it weren't for truck drivers how would you have what you have?

Food, clothing, vehicles, paper products, you name it. All delivered by the trucking/shipping industry. If we are so dependent on their services why are so many companies treating their drivers as if they are 2nd class citizens? Truck drivers in general don't get a lot of respect. Granted, some are slobs, but not all. What's funny about that term is that it could apply to many "white-collar" workers. There is slime in every field. Just look at our politicians. Look at the Enrons of the business world. Look at the Catholic church and some of its priests' problems with pedophilia - gasp!

Don't judge a person by their title, right? I mean, do you know how much money a truck driver makes? Owner operators make a six figure income annually. They work hard for that money. Greatwide needs to put more effort into getting their drivers better benefits packages, easier loans for those that want to become owner operators but cannot afford it at the beginning. How can a person become an owner operator without their own truck? Why not facilitate this and make it easier on everyone involved.

Maybe if the big boys of trucking like Schneider, JB Hunt, Swift, Stevens Transport and Prime would lead by example trucking wouldn't be a dying career. Greatwide boasts that they haul for big names like Wal-Mart, Tyson, Target, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, etc. Those are big names, yes, but what good does it do to have these big names as customers? When 85 percent of their drivers are owner operators and can take their wheels with them when they leave for better opportunities, what then? Those 'big' names won't wait around for anybody. They'll go elsewhere to get their loads delivered. I guarantee it. Just ask them what happened when the dispatchers were sorely lacking organizational ability and prioritization skills - Wally World took back some of their delivery routes. Hit them right where it hurt; in their pockets.

There is a lot at stake should a group of these drivers decide to "drive" to greener pastures. Drivers talk and other drivers listen. With the opportunities out there and the dire shortage of drivers as was mentioned in the article, you would think that the powers that be at Greatwide, as well as the other big boy trucking companies would get their act together. You'd think they'd have a clue. They should think about either getting new management or sizing up their benefits and putting themselves in the drivers seat for a change. After all, they have college degrees, right? They should use that education to actually make a difference instead of tooting their own horn.

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