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One of the last union ltl’s around (yrc companies being the other).....
GOOOOOOOOD medical, fair pair pay, (out here on the west coast) and they still have a pension too..... might have to work nights or drive a bobtail for a little while (depending on location, and how busy they are) if LTL is all you are considering (for whatever reason)..... this is DEFINITELY the only company I’d consider.
(no I never worked there, I drove for Reddaway though for 5 years, and witnessed a 60yo gentleman leave there to go to abf (had been with Reddaway for 25+ years) and he’s happy.
hope this helps
From what I understand it can be a long time (like a decade) to get an actual bid run as an ABF road driver. They start out as system drivers staying out all week in hotels. It'll take some time before you are home every night. This is the deal for the monster Dayton, OH hub terminal. I don't know about anywhere else.
You might get more specific information at ABF Freight System
I have been at ABF for 6+ years. I was lucky and hired on in the middle of a hiring spree, lots of older drivers retiring. Talk to the terminal and see where you would be in regards to people retiring. Sloooooow right now but it is for everybody. Probation for about a month then full rate after a year. Best medical I have ever had. Very laid back company, cause no trouble get no trouble. On a bid know that is a hundred thousand a year bid. Good luck to you, first couple years are hard. No sleep waiting by the phone.
They are a very good company. Great benefits, good pay, and all the work you can handle and then some. When you first get in there, you feel like king of the world. Working steady, making money. The terminal you're at will depend where you go from here, though.
In general, guys were allowed some freedom to have a life, choose their days off, etc. At my terminal (Sauk Village, IL, or "South Chicago" within the company), you either had to take your time off after six tours or 12 tours, and nothing else was allowed or else it reset your tour count. I had 11 tours saved up once, needed to push back 8 hours to go to a friend's wedding and sleep, and they reset my tour count. lol I was super happy.
None of this is sour grapes, though. I made great money at ABF, and the benefits were fantastic. And depending on the terminal you're at? That's a great company to retire from. Just talk to some of the local guys and see what they say.
If I had to do it over again...at my terminal, a guy told me to forget about life outside those green trucks as I was walking in for orientation. I laughed it off, but it was a grave warning I should have heeded. haha
But at other terminals, it's a great choice.
It jumped from 2 to 5 years when I was exactly at 2 years. By the time I was eligible to get a bid at 5 years, I was completely done with the place. 5 years of 24/7 work with weekly 48-hour breaks? Lol nah. Keep your bid.
About 10 month after I got my cdl and had some otr experience, I applied at several LTL companies. Had all endorsements before applying. The morning after I applied at ABF, the Atlanta (Conley) linehaul manager called me to schedule an interview for the next time I was home. The interview went well, and a couple of weeks later they called and said I was approved for hire after I passed a DOT/Drug/Hair test. I took the tests, passed, and started in August. The interview was very easy, seemed like most of what went on was making sure I understood the job and making sure all my questions were answered.
Orientation was 3 days, and I did one trip to Mississippi and back before going on my own. Orientation was 8 hours of pay per day ($24.92/hr) and I got paid for the one trip with a trainer as if I had been by myself (62.6 cpm).
Here is all the info I can think of to pass along:
You have thirty days of probation. I was at full pay from day one. Benefits start after probation ends. Automatic enrollment. Probation, it’s ok if you screw up, like accidentally taking the wrong trailer or getting lost. just don’t get in a wreck where it’s your fault or preventable or a serious moving violation. Heck one guy on probation ran over a light pole and they didn’t even fire him. Just gave him another month probation.
63.5 CPM. It is essentially hub miles. A few routes we run, there are quicker ways to get there than the pay route, but for the most part you’re truly paid for every mile. Want to go a longer way? Go out of route for some bubbas BBQ? No problem, just don’t expect to get paid for it.
$25.30 hourly pay. Hourly pay you get when you’re told to come in at 9, and the load isn’t ready or hooked yet. You get it for any time on other yards while doing hooking yourself, which only seems to happen 2-3 times a week at the most. If there’s a dock worker doing the hooking you still get paid the same to wait while they do the work. At large terminals like Atlanta, Winston Salem, Little Rock, Dayton, etc. you’ll never do the hooking yourself. Other terminals you may only do the hooking yourself at night or on weekends and whatnot. If you’re at a terminal and have to take the truck to a hotel, you get 15 min to drop your set. And another 15 when you come back to hook to your set. If the set isn’t strung, then of course you get paid actual time, not just the 15 minutes and depending on the situation you may get paid a penalty for your set not being hooked when you start your shift out of a hotel. You get hourly pay at the shop if you’re pretripping a truck and find a problem, and on the road if you are broken down and need roadside. No free time is given for that, it starts when the breakdown happens, not after thirty minutes or anything like that. There are drivers making over $100k here, and not just ones that have been around 20 years and have lots of seniority. I’ve had paychecks over $2600, lowest one was like $930 and that was only for 4 days work. I’ve averaged about $1,900 a week. I take a short bid run in the winter to make sure I stay busy and extra board in the summer. Summer on the extra board in 2019 I averaged $2180 a week. Don’t focus too much on miles- a lot of pay comes from layover at the hotel and various wait times. All the hourly pay can add $200-400 a week regularly. I LOVE the hotel layover because you make money without burning your 70.
We get five sick days per year, paid at 8 hours which is almost $200. If you haven’t used em by thanksgiving or so, start claiming them on your off days. You don’t have to call in sick to use them, but you can’t work on a day you claim one either. If you haven’t used em Jan 1 you’ll get a check for unused ones a few weeks later but that check will be taxed as a bonus. You get a new set every Jan 1. You don’t get any until your first Jan 1st as an employee.
One week of vacation first year, two weeks after that. Three weeks after eight years. Five weeks after 20. Six weeks after 30. You earn vacation for the year after 180 shifts, or about 7-8 months of work depending on how much you work. Vacation is paid as 6 days of work and based on your average daily earnings.
Layover is paid starting at the 14th hour, with a two hour minimum. So if you aren’t rolling by 14 hours and 1 minute of punching out to go to the hotel you get 2 hours. This would happen at the hotel. You get up to 8 hours pay, give ten hours for free, then start getting paid for up to 8, and so on. Meal allowance is paid as well at certain intervals as well as at a higher rate and more frequent interval if your layover starts on a Sunday.
Holidays are paid at 8 hours, again, almost $200. These include New Years, 4th of July, Labor Day, thanksgiving and the day after, Christmas Eve and day. If you work on a holiday you get the 8 hours as well as a 4 hour bonus, and of course whatever your run for the day pays. Your birthday and company anniversary date are paid as holidays.
Insurance (health, dental, and vision) is all provided at no cost for you, your spouse, and your children. This is not cheap insurance. It is blue cross for health, not sure what the dental and vision is. Very low deductibles and prescription cost, vision is very good, dental is very good. I’m a former HR exec and this insurance plan is one of the best ones available, free or not.
Retirement is sort of a toss. There is a 401k plan, but no match. The plan is decent, good investment options for the average person to set it and forget it. The reason we don’t get a match is because of the pension we receive. I won’t go into the pension because it will likely be bankrupt within a decade. I’m saving enough to not count on the pension or social security, and that isn’t difficult to do with what ABF pays.
Hometime: You can take off after 6, 12, and 18 shifts. After 6 shifts you get 58 hours off, 12 you get 72, 18 you get 96 hours off. If you aren’t at your home terminal at the end of your 6th shift, then the next time you end a shift at your home terminal, you are then allowed to take off as if it were your 6th trip.
Seniority date is based on your first shift. We have 139 or so road drivers in Atlanta, and looking at the seniority list it looks like people who have been here say, five years, are around the 90s-low 100s in seniority. A lot of guys here are nearing retirement age(or past it)so I imagine over the next five years people may be moving up the board very quickly. Seniority get you out of your home terminal first and gives you first choice of available runs. Expect shorter runs a lot for the first year or two with some longer runs mixed in, and as the longer you stay, that will reverse. Of course if you have the seniority and want the short runs, you could do that too I guess. We have bid runs, about 65-70 of them so about half the board. I would guess to get a bid run paying $90k+ you’ll have to be here 8-10 years. But $90k is possible for a hard worker on the extra board from pretty much day one. I ran a very short bid for the winter months(335 miles 6x a week but with extra stops mixed in) and ran hard on the extra board in the summer and made $100,500 in 2019.
The hotels we stay at are decent for the most part, a couple are trashy, a couple are very nice. Once you punch out to go to the hotel they can call you as soon as 8 hours with a 2 hour notice to return.
Runs vary between overnight runs or one day runs but 90-95% are overnight runs where you’ll stay a hotel and come back the next day. 90% of overnight runs will get you back home the very next day. We don’t stay gone for more than one night all that often. It is a contract requirement that they get us home on the 4th day though. If not you get a lot of $ in penalties so it doesn’t happen much. We have 335 mile runs up to 670 mile runs. You may go direct, or 1,2,3,4 stop points in between. Most runs are either direct or just have one stop. We go to Winston Salem, Orlando, and Little Rock a lot. Shreveport, Miami, Del ray are common runs once you’ve got a couple years in, not as common for new guys but you’ll get lucky every week or two in the summer and snag one of them.
Teamsters negotiated a new contract in July 2018. Were essentially getting 1cpm raise and roughly $.20/hr raise each year of the five year contract so in 2023 we will be at 67.6 cpm and $26/hr.
I hope this information helps. Forums helped me get started driving. If anyone has questions feel free to ask below or PM me.Last edited: Mar 12, 2020
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