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  1. #1
    Road Train Member latanea's Avatar
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    Star Red How to get a Union Job

    I am amazed at the numerous misconceptions about Union trucking jobs.

    "you have to know somebody"
    "you have to inherit the job from your dad"
    "you give the union 50% of your paycheck"
    "union drivers are all old guys"
    "they only hire you if you are liberal"

    etc etc etc

    Everyones experiences are different - but My Union career took off when I was going over my books as an O/O and weighing the good with the bad.

    ( I was a real owner operator with my own authority and multiple brokers - as opposed to a lease/op with a rented truck and a safety net)

    Unlike many - I had a steady income - was smart about my purchases and kept things tight and efficient. BUT, I had married the previous year and my being away even a few days at a time were starting to take a toll on our relationship. Prior to marriage I had already decided to find something local and wind down a bit - I had been a road ##### long enough and really wanted to enjoy more time being grounded and a part of my community...

    At first I thought I would shift the focus of my biz to local short runs - but you can actually be home more running regional - or even like in my case running to AZ and back every week... A lot of the O/O's I knew who ran locals took a huge cut in pay and wound up spending hours every day in docks (for free).

    Another option was to just run less... but as some of you know this needs to be balanced with the expenses of maintaining a truck (or two or three).

    Anyway -I was looking over the books and something crossed my mind that I had written off a long time ago - union jobs....

    I drove over to my local union hall (teamsters l. 100) and asked them about jobs - they refered me to the job bank on their national website.

    5 hours later I was sitting in a Roadway office filling out an application
    5 days later I was in orientation
    5 weeks later I sold off my equipment
    5 months later I was into a grove and home 4-5 nights a week

    It has been almost 3 years and I can tell you I have never been happier driving a truck. I have a life again. I have put 7500 miles on my motorcycle this summer. My wife loves me being here to help out with things. There is s sense of belonging and community amongst union memebers that you do not get with over the road drivers (o/o or company).

    My wife and I go out to dinner with others (yellow/roadway/abf/holland/ups etc etc) and have gained many great new friends...

    Is there negative aspects to driving union? sure - but the good outweighs the bad in my opinion

    I can easily bring home 1100$ a week - have all my insurance premiums paid - closed access to great 401k options - work towards a great pension - discounts galore on all sorts of things - and the peace of mind I was lacking with my own company.

    You can be as involved or not with the union. The rules are simple - as are the expectations by the company.

    politics? a little - but we are a diverse group. Looking around the drivers room I see farmers, old, young,liberal, conservative, moderates, NRA members, college grads, military retirees, 30 year men and newbies, 3rd generation teamsters and those like me that just walked in to it...


    Union dues for me are 58$ a month -
    my mileage rate is about 55 cents a mile-
    my first year I made 50k
    my second year I made 60k
    this year I am on course to make about 72k

    and keep in mind I do not run hard - there are many guys from my terminal that make 20k more than I do...

    also - mileage pay is only part of the check - we get paid hourly for EVERYTHING elso - waiting on paperwork - repairs-breakdown-layover etc etc etc

    your first year you are paid 75% of rate which at 55 cents is 42 cents
    on your first aniversary you go to 80% (44 cents)
    at 18 months you go to 90% (49.5 cents)
    and you are 100% on your 2nd anny.


    so far out of my terminal I have only been kept out for a max of 4 beds once - most of the time I am only gone one night at a time...

    This job has made a huge impact on my life - my hobbies are no longer on a back burner - and the wife and I have plenty of time to goof off.


    If I can help just one other driver get to this level of satisfaction - I will be happy...


    If anyone has any questions on how to find a good union job - please send me a message...

    - latanea
    Last edited by latanea; 09.21.2007 at 09.59 AM. Reason:: clarified point

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  3. #2
    Master FMCSA Interpreter GasHauler's Avatar
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    I've got say my job was built on the union but the terminal I was at was non-union. At my company I saw the union was no better than the non-union drivers. But I have noticed that the area plays a major role in how the unions works. In California or out west the union is not as strong as back east. That's because of the right to work law. At our Los Angeles terminal the drivers were about 50/50. You didn't have to join the union if you didn't want to. And a non union driver got paid 10 more an hour than the union driver. It was because of a lunch break, so I was told. The benefits were the same and they all came from the company.

    A good friend of mine just retired and he had over 28 years with the company. Most of those years were union but his retirement is the same as mine. So I don't really see the need for the union in a large petroleum company that's so mandated with regulations anyway. But that's about the only place I've seen or worked where the union didn't matter.

    It's great that you've found a job that pays well with good benefits. My point is there are jobs out there that match and sometimes exceed the union jobs but you've just got to be lucky to find them. Not as many but there're there. And the benefit there is they don't go on strike. But no job is secure.

    I think Wal-Mart should have the union come in and I believe it's un-american the way that company treats it's employees. So there a place for unions IMHO but not everywhere.

  4. #3
    Road Train Member
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    I was always told that you worked the streets as part of a crew, then after enough time, you would become a made member of the union. They would hold a ceremony, and the union leader wouild prick his finger and yours and smear the blood together to seal the bond between you and the union. Then they would burn a picture of a saint in your hand and tell you that you would burn for eternity like the saint if you ever betrayed the union.

    No, wait. that's how you get into the mafia, not the union. I always seem to get those two mixed up with each other.....

  5. #4
    World Citizen Etosha's Avatar
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    Good post Latanea.
    I picked the company I wanted to work for. It happened to be a Teamster company. I got the job, joined the Teamsters, and the rest is history.
    Like Latanea I am happy where I am, and life is great. I know what to expect, and I know what is expected of me. Makes for a great partnership.

  6. #5
    Honorary Supporter Roadmedic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burky View Post
    I was always told that you worked the streets as part of a crew, then after enough time, you would become a made member of the union. They would hold a ceremony, and the union leader wouild prick his finger and yours and smear the blood together to seal the bond between you and the union. Then they would burn a picture of a saint in your hand and tell you that you would burn for eternity like the saint if you ever betrayed the union.

    No, wait. that's how you get into the mafia, not the union. I always seem to get those two mixed up with each other.....

    You were either joining in Detroit or Chicago.

  7. #6
    Road Train Member Ronnocomot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burky View Post
    I was always told that you worked the streets as part of a crew, then after enough time, you would become a made member of the union. They would hold a ceremony, and the union leader wouild prick his finger and yours and smear the blood together to seal the bond between you and the union. Then they would burn a picture of a saint in your hand and tell you that you would burn for eternity like the saint if you ever betrayed the union.

    No, wait. that's how you get into the mafia, not the union. I always seem to get those two mixed up with each other.....
    Quote Originally Posted by Roadmedic View Post
    You were either joining in Detroit or Chicago.
    And your boss is named Tony Soprano or Paulie Walnuts

  8. #7
    Light Load Member
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    Be careful gentlemen. Doma, Local 25 Boston Mass.

  9. #8
    Road Train Member
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    Lighten up Francis!

    And Boston doesn't have a reputation far removed from the cities mentioned above.

  10. #9
    Light Load Member
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    Here is the deal here, the company I am working for which is a Big grocerie store chain, You have to be a spare driver for a while untill there is a hire, now I can't make heads or tails on how they decide who gets hired and who keeps sparing. Some sapred for 2 weeks and got hired and some have been sparing for 2 years.. You can join as a spare (Idid) but you have to aquire I think 300 hrs in 3 months to get the benifits from the union, only straight time overtime does not count.. For me it has been Great I work 3 to 4 days a week and bring home around $700. Reason is they pay overtime after 8 hours not 40 or 50. so You are pulling overtime on almost every shift. I'll tell ya if insurance wasn't so expensive to keep on my own, I would just keep sparing and not change a thing.. The work is silly easy, and once you do get the union benifits it is a real nice deal. having said that though as I have been looking for work as an OTR regional driver, I see most of the big companies offer a benny package real close to what is offered here, Problem is the money. You can make 1000 a week working here and only work 10 hrs a day be home after work and never see more than a 500 mile day not even close, long for us is to the new york stores and that is 3.5 hrs away.. In this area it really is the sweetest deal going, and yes it does matter who you know and not what you know.

  11. #10
    Light Load Member
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    I know burky, it is still that old fashoned way here, the union is still looked at by people as a ... well You know a shady thing..here .. The old days really set a reputation.. and the union has done a ton harm to itsself too over the years.. Some of the stuff I see and hear people crying about is just silly.. But alot of theese guys were born and raised in this union and this comapny.. Like I said it really is a sweet deal, I almost feel guilty at times when I am working and knowing what it is like over the fence,, God I have it real easy,,, But if I don't make the next hire I will be looking for a real job anyhow..And am really not too sad about that, I hate running short and local anyway and I like working.. And as sad as this sounds I think my marrige at this point could be better off with me gone more often.. That sucks to have to say.. Such is life.. Plus I want a big truck that I can keep shiny and sleep in.. LOL

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