Letter to Werner Enterprises from A Female Veteran

Occasionally we get calls or email from women who are having difficulty in their truck driver training. Often it relates to a bad trainer situation. Most recently is was about a violent female trainer attacking her female student with a weapon. Despite numerous recent lawsuits against mega-fleets that train students, nothing seems to be improving. As I said about the $3.1 Million Settlement in the Prime Discrimination Case, the problem is not gender. It’s over recruiting new students when there are not enough suitable trainers available for everyone and there is not enough filtering for quality students to keep the good trainers around.

As a courtesy we have agreed to publish the following open letter to Werner sent from a student driver who is a veteran. 

Dear Werner:

On Friday, April 14, 2017 I was driven back to the Lakeland terminal in the midst of my training with trainer after learning of a severe trust discrepancy between he and his wife in regards to myself. My trainer explained that he could no longer teach me because his wife did not feel comfortable with him training me. He continued to tell me that his wife had contacted his fleet manager and expressed her concerns until he finally agreed to stop training me in order to save his marriage. He explained that he tried to convince his fleet manager to at least allow me to finish the day’s delivery, but was he was unsuccessful and was advised to immediately bring me back to the Lakeland terminal. As a result, I was promptly taken off the truck and dropped off at the Lakeland hotel.

My trainer was the only person who represented Werner that said anything to me about the reason behind being returned to the Lakeland hotel. I did not hear anything from the fleet manager, Michelle W., or any other individual in the company explaining to me what was taking place and how they would address this issue. I am the person one directly affected by this situation. I have had my training for a new career placed on hold as a result of someone else’s perspective and delusions. I have been humiliated and inconvenienced. I was placed in the center of a domestic dispute and dropped off where the new drivers start when they are looking for a trainer.

I felt undervalued as an employee in this situation and discriminated against for being a woman. No one from Werner bothered to reach out to me to inform me of what exactly was said or how they would rectify this training situation. No one advised me of any precautionary measures that would be taken in order to protect my rights as a trainee that came to Werner in a program that claims to support individuals like myself who have served this country. As a female, I my training was clearly a different priority level than for my male counterparts in this same program that introduces veterans to truck driver training.

The fact that I could not start my new job on schedule, complete the training but rather had to report to a hotel for waiting status was a form of unfair punishment and discrimination for a situation that I did not create other than the fact of being a woman. I’m unduly affected by this, by pulling me off of my job and sending me back to square one. The company gave his wife total control over my training, which ultimately affects my income by extending my completion of the program. Now, I’ve been put in a situation where I will have to wait longer before I can start earning the money I need to support myself and my family.

As a veteran, who has worked in close quarters with men on a daily basis professionally, I am both shocked and appalled at the company’s response. There is no intelligent training in place at Werner that I experienced to deal with mixed gender training. That a non-employee with delusions, insecurities, and discriminations can halt training without a solution or explanation from the company is unacceptable. My goal has been to complete my training so that I can begin my career and earn the salary with which I can support myself and my family. Yet, I am the one being negatively affected by this predicament the most. I feel my reputation has been tarnished by Werner. How does this company stand up for my rights as a woman working for Werner?

It has now come to my attention that other people at Werner have learned of this situation yet, no one has called me.

My dignity is affected by all of this nonsense. I know that my intentions were pure. Again, my goal is to complete training expeditiously so that I can earn the money to pay my financial obligations. My trainer was quickly reassigned to another student and I was left to sit in a hotel with no idea of what plan of action Werner would take that should include my unpaid down time.is taken into consideration as well.

It has been over a month now and I am in the waiting seat again while my male counterparts who started with me at CDL School are well off on their path to becoming qualified drivers. It’s no surprise that I feel like it would have been different if I were a man. I signed up for an opportunity to advance my skills in trucking and working at Werner. This issue is clearly to my gender and Werner’s lack of regard. I question why more is not being done to address the lack of trainers available for female student drivers. It is clear to me that not just myself but other female student drivers are having to be kept waiting, even put on accounts that do not entail the work we signed up to perform. These waiting periods have a negative effect on our finances and are a predicament that requires action. I am an honest person who is simply trying to take care of my personal obligations and myself. I can see from talking to others and reading more on this industry that there are many other women experiencing the same treatment from Werner and other carriers like them in this industry.

Sincerely,
L.H.
Student Driver
American Veteran of the Armed Services
ID#: 571552

** The original letter from this student was sent to Werner HR in April 2017, no one from Werner has contacted the student as of May7, 2017. She has since sought employment elsewhere.***

Werner Enterprises, Inc. (Werner), Omaha, NE is a among the five largest truckload carriers in the United States that includes dedicated van, temperature-controlled and flatbed; medium-to-long-haul, regional and local van; and expedited services.

 

Additional Links:

Blog Talk Radio: Discrimination is not the Solution to Sex Harassment in Trucking

Guests: EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Jan Shelly, Dayna Deck and Paul Taylor from Truckers Justice Center

Truck Driver is the Most Common Job in Most States

A lot of jobs that were pretty common 40 years ago aren’t so common anymore. There aren’t as many farmers as there used to be. The same thing is true for jobs like secretary and machine operator. But one job has been a mainstay in American life for four decades: Truck driver.

NPR recently ran a story where they listed the most common job for every state for each year, from 1978 to 2014. Truck drivers are everywhere. 

Source: IPUMS-CPS/ University Of Minnesota
Credit: Quoctrung Bui/NPR

Not all of those truck driver jobs are over-the-road, though. The story was based on census information, and the government categorizes delivery people as truck drivers, too. 

Still, trucking has had more staying power than a lot of jobs. NPR noted a few of the reasons:

“Driving a truck has been immune to two of the biggest trends affecting U.S. jobs: globalization and automation. A worker in China can’t drive a truck in Ohio, and machines can’t drive cars (yet).”

In 2014, truck driver was the most common job in 28 states. At its peak in 2004, truck driving was the most common job in a whopping 36 states. 

In North Carolina, it’s been the most common job every year since 1986, the longest current streak. Not too surprising, since Charlotte is one of the most popular cities for load posts on DAT TruckersEdge.

Carriers Hire the Most Truck Drivers in 5 Years

While the map above is for 2014, it seems safe to say that a 2017 map would still look pretty similar. In February, trucking fleets added 10,600 jobs, the biggest increase in five years, according to the Wall Street Journal. This comes a month after fleets cut their payrolls by 5,100 jobs, so part of that increase was because fleets were adding back the jobs that went away in January.

Still, it’s a strong sign of growth for the trucking industry, so driving a truck is going to stay a popular job for a while yet.

 

Real Women in Trucking partners with DAT to offer a special on the TruckersEdge load board to its members. Sign up for TruckersEdge today and get your first 30 days free by signing up at http://www.truckersedge.net/promo584 or entering “promo584” during sign up. This offer is available to new TruckersEdge subscribers only

 Note: This article was adapted from DAT’s blog post. It was first published in March, 2017.

When’s the Best Time to Get Your Authority? Right Now

If you’ve been thinking about getting your own trucking authority, there’s no time like the present. There’s the “seize the day” angle, of course, but there’s another good reason to start now. We’re about to hit the slow season for freight, so you have more time for paperwork.

Plus, getting your motor carrier authority can take a month or more, so by the time you get your DOT number and start your business, you’ll be ready for the spring freight season.

Remember: It takes a month if you don’t hit any delays along the way, but it could take longer. For example, if you needed to change your company name, or something comes up in the registration process, the FMCSA could take extra time before approving your authority. That’s why it’s crucial that you do your research before making the leap. 

That goes for both regulations AND your business strategies. Insurance, registration fees, equipment, staffing, taxes – all these expenses are your responsibility once you get your own authority. The risks are high, but so are the potential rewards.

Ready to take the plunge? Here are 9 steps to starting your own trucking business.

  1. Get your commercial driver’s license – Get behind the wheel and get some experience
  2. Make a business plan – What are you hauling? Who are your customers?
  3. Choose a business structure – Choices include LLC, corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, etc.
  4. Start-up expensesGet authority and save money to cover the first few months until you start getting paid
  5. Plan your operations – Staffing, parking, maintenance, back office – who does what?
  6. Safety compliance – State and federal regulations
  7. Insurance – $750,000 minimum liability
  8. Equipment – What tractor and/or trailer does your business need?
  9. Grow your business –Find loads

Want to get started as quickly as possible? Give us a call at 866-812-3379, and we can take care of the paperwork for you. That way you don’t have to worry about making a mistake that leads to you missing out on the busy season later this year.

You can also send us a message here to get started with your authority or anything else you need to keep your trucking business compliant.

 

Real Women in Trucking partners with DAT to offer a special on the TruckersEdge load board to its members. Sign up for TruckersEdge today and get your first 30 days free by signing up at www.truckersedge.net/promo584 or entering “promo584” during sign up. TruckersEdge® Load Board is part of the trusted DAT® Load Board Network with over 300,000 loads posted daily.  * This offer is available to new TruckersEdge subscribers only

 Note: This article was adapted from DAT’s blog post. It was first published in January, 2017.