TNI Tri National inc
I disagree with your statement about someone always being at the Charleston facility and resent your calling those who disagree untruthful. I have been to the Charleston facility during the daytime many times and there has been no one there. I've had to wait. The mechanic is the one who goes in the office and gets the paperwork. The dispatcher I was assigned made many mistakes and even lied to cover them up. He was barely competent in my opinion, plus he never returned my phone calls and I left him many messages over time. Also, several of the of dispatchers are downright nasty. I won't name them, we who have dealt with them know. I know one Saturday recently I kept calling and it appeared I was hung up on. I finally had to have my mom call them and she reported the same. She called several numbers that I had been given including that of the operations in Laredo and guess what? NO ONE returned my call. Beware: TNI management does not take kindly to criticism of any kind, especially that of its dispatchers. To say they are defensive when confronted would be an understatement. They make a big thing about "appreciating" their drivers and having raffles and such on the Qualcomm but I never got any of that from them. I felt just the opposite.
I have waited not just at Charleston (their second largest facility and one of three with a mechanic available) but elsewhere as well, i.e. Little Rock, Laredo, etc. The facility at Texarkana is a "ghost" facility, BTW, with no one there and it's used basically to store trailers and relay loads.
I have been to the Laredo facility many times and had to wait for someone to sign my paperwork--the mechanics are nowhere to be found, no one even in the back office. I also had a lot of downtime with this company due to poor planning or some kind of communication break down involving the planners. I was not compensated for this downtime at all. Example: delivering an empty from one area in Tennessee to another area two hours away, and then not being dispatched anywhere else. Fully 50% of all the loads I carried in six months were relayed in either Texarakana, Hayti, MO or elsewhere, presumably because they were "hot" loads that needed to be delivered sooner than I could deliver them. A common complaint among TNI drivers is having to wait while another driver relays a load to them. If it's you, you may have to wait until the next day to be assigned a new load if you are not switching trailers. They expect many of their loads to be there at 6 am in the morning which would require you in your sleeper berth by 8 am the previous night. Since I am dispatched to the Laredo terminal where loads originate and usually arrive from where I am around six or seven at night, this is unrealistic. I actually worked my butt off for this company doing three week stints without going home and I really did not earn good money at all. It's at least $100 less per week than the company I worked for before.
Did you know TNI drops dead during the summer months? That's because they exclusively deliver auto parts. I really resent the fact that my dispatcher was not up front with me about this lengthy period which starts in June while the auto industry retools in Mexico. They completely deny it and the fact that work essentially dries up due to this. I was not told this at the orientation and the company denies that they do in fact lay off drivers during this period when there is virtually no work. Instead, they tell you they are waiting for a truck or a load or they ask you if you want to hitch a ride with someone to Texarkana with no firm offer of work once you get there. Having a revolving truck system works best for them in that they aren't anxious for you to go back to work in the first place since the truck isn't sitting there losing money. They always have a large number of potential drivers and they will choose and rely on those that work and don't care about going home. My dispatcher was extremely nebulous about this and giving out information or admitting that this slow period can cover up to two to three months. This is when they lay off the drivers that relinquish their trucks and go home for their breaks. I was off for three weeks waiting for a truck and finally told after two weeks of waiting that in actuality there were no loads coming in from Mexico. After two weeks, I informed my dispatcher that I would be applying for unemployment. After being told I was number #30 on the list waiting for a load, suddenly two days after a load becomes available the next day out of Laredo. ( Anyways, I got no unemployment as my dispatcher told the TWC office that I had refused work by refusing to hitch a ride).
I had three blow outs in a week and a half span last July due to the heat and shoddy condition of the trailer tires--almost all of them are retreads and do not look good to me. This was explained due to the heat but I had a lot more blow outs than would be the norm due to poor tires. Many of the trailers are not really in good condition and the doors have issues and can be difficult to close, such as the rubber stripping falling apart. I got many trailers that had prior damage visible on them, such as large scrapes on the sides, etc. TNI switched to all electronic last summer so it would be nearly impossible to run "illegal". This company has a revolving door policy towards its drivers, always hiring, because employees quit or are constantly let go for minor infractions. It's true they do nickel and dime you to death. I heard one driver at the Hidalgo facility was charged $250 to clean out his truck, and he was quite upset about it. Someone who did not work for TNI but was there told me about this.