Do we really need lumpers? A company buys the goods and then expects to be paid to off load their property. Maybe I'm just being me but why the hell don't we unite and just don't deliver to places that use those blood suckers - then how quick will those warehouses and companies like FoodLine, Walmart etc keep using them at their DC's before they realize that no product delivered means no product to sell! A few weeks of no deliveries and they will employ them - those that don't - will be out of business!
Lumpers - are they needed
Page 1 of 28
Aussie, I used to wonder that as well. Why the hell are these mysterious, almost ghostly, individuals called "lumpers" on docks unloading freight and not folks who are employed by the DCs?
One reason lumpers are a reality is dock workers who don't actually work "for" the docks don't require workman's comp, health insurance, that sort of thing. Hell, they don't even need to be paid minimum wage, for that matter. And they don't need uniforms, time-cards, or even an arm of HR to handle them.
Another reason lumpers exist is that if drivers HAD to unload freight, the freight would be moved at 25% the rate it presently moves. Not many drivers are gonna put up with somebody telling them "you HAVE to unload this". Hell no. Most drivers aren't gonna be anybody's dock hands for long, especially the OTR guys. Docks understand this reality, and the lumpers are the band-aid solution that keeps the freight rolling. Yeap, if somebody told ME I had to unload no matter what, the freight would rot on the truck. This is because it would never get unloaded, as I don't touch freight, period.
But the biggest reason lumpers are realities at docks is because docks can use lumpers to get a sort of "kick-back" from the trucking companies they do business with. Have you noticed that lumpers charge outrageous prices for their services? Sure you have. California lumpers regularly charge a driver 250 bucks to unload a full wagon. And I'm sure you've noticed who these guys are. They're usually immigrants, and regardless if they're natives or immigrants, they often look like they've just walked out of a half-way house or just the plain ol' 'poorhouse' or flophouse. When I started driving, this is one of the first things I noticed. It didn't take me long to figure out something was/is up at the docks. A dreg lumper takes home 250 bucks to unload one trailer? If he unloads two trailers, he makes 500 bucks? How the hell does that happen? That is outrageous money for only a few hours work! On my first trip I was thinking of quitting my driving job and getting a lumping job. Dreams of becoming a millionaire in only a year or two danced through my head for a few seconds there.
Then it hit me--these guys DON'T take home all that dough. The docks obviously charge lumpers a sort of "user fee", sort of what a whorehouse charges its resident ######. This is the kickback. If you pay a lumper 250 bones to unload a trailer in four hours, he will have to pay probably 150 of that to the dock. Maybe 200. That explains why you see those scruffy-looking guys, mainly immigrants, unloading the trailers instead of good-looking white guys who used to be doctors, lawyers, and whatnot who quit those jobs to go make the REAL money--lumping freight at 250 bucks a trailer.
That's right--you don't see those white guys unloading freight because lumpers DON'T take that big money home with them at the end of the day. After your next lumper gets you emptied out and you head on down the road, know that he then has to visit the dock's head office or his lumping-service boss to have his pockets picked. The dock snatches the lion's share of what you give him and thus it gets a reduced rate on deliveries. This kickback should be illegal, but of course it isn't. Who knows how much the government is losing in lost tax revenue on lumpers and the kickbacks.
It doesn't matter anyway. We can't change things outside of quitting the industry. Your company pays for lumpers, or at least you need to make sure they are. And make sure they pay 100%. YOU don't wanna be subsidizing docks one red cent. If your company "forces" you to pay any share of the lumper fee, find another company fast.
I've said in other posts to keep company scams from eating at you. Not here. This is a scam you shouldn't tolerate. Because I know what is going on at the docks, if my company told me I had to pay for a lumper out of my own pocket, I would quit on the spot, no questions asked. I wouldn't put up with subsidizing those suits at the docks for a second.
One other thing. If your company is stiffing you on lumper reimbursments, give them the ultimatum. Companies negotiate lumper fees into freight charges, or at least they're supposed to. In other words, your company already knows approximately how much a lumper will be charging you at your next dock before you get there. If your company starts playing games like not paying 100% or even puts the burden on YOUR shoulders, you know what to do next.
I would'nt pay them a cent to unload me out of my own pocket if the company I worked for did'nt pay it and if I had to unload it, they would'nt get their product, period! Some Lumper services you pay after the work is done and they seem to be on the average quicker than those that demand payment prior to work being done - either way, these guys should be "employed" by the DC's and warehouses. As I said, maybe it's just me, I just can't find any logical reason for their existence'
Living were I do I have hauled more then my share of paper products, from toilet paper to 5000 pound plus rolls. I like the rolls because there are a few drivers out there that don't like the heavy loads plus it's a shipper load and reciever unload..
Now on the toilet paper, paper towels etc are slip sheet loads but is pre-stacked the proper tie and hi, all is needed is it to be on pallets. All that is needed is either the product to be loaded on boards or on at the warehouse a squeeze lift available to unload, but most if not all grocery wearhouses require the loads to be fingerprinted, why?
As Tip sugested above it the liability of the dock owner. An "independent" contracor (lumper) is responsible for his/her insurence and taxes and the dock can wash it's hands for any accidents.
Another thing to consider is that some or most grocery wearhouse loads pay a little more for the trucks to show up, that is to cover the cost to unload the trailer, this is one thing that the carrier will not let the driver know.
A reefer load is another animal altogether and a produce load can be outright ugly. The truck can have 20 plus diferent products on. One of the ugliest loads I ever saw was a yogart load. I did two of three stops and the lumpers got $280 between the two. It would have taken me a week to do that one...
Then there are the food warehouses that require the driver to sign an "agreement" stating that as long as the driver is unloading the freight, the "dock" is NOT responsible for ANY injuries incurred while doing so.
I said hey, if ya want the freight unloaded, then get to it or I don't care.
I paid the lumper service (from my companys coffer) and waited about an hour for the lumpers to divvy up the load onto quite many different pallets. Anal is as anal does.
I noticed yet NEVER did co-operate (I wasn't asked) at wail mart dc's that sometimes the driver is requested to help unload/count. I would verily stop that crap simply by saying that I require $300.00 CASH UP FRONT to help B4 I step on yer dock AND that ANY injuries incurred are YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!! Isn't it enough of a hassle merely getting admitted onto their property WITH AN APPT.??
Let's ALL get together and let wail mart haul their own freight, ALWAYS !!thejackal Thanks this.
This is some good stuff that I never thaught about. They might not charge them for using the dock. I bet they do charge then for using there equipment though. ("Palit jack, tow moter, ect")
I also noticed that a lot of companys are using temp services for there lumpers. This way they have someone who is responsible if someone gets hurt. The temp co was supposed to provide training, and some of them do background checks. The temp agency gets the big $$$ and the lumper gets $7.00 or less an hr.
I have been to several docks that if you dont hire a lumper they make it VERY hard for you to get your truck unloaded. Its all a game like so many other parts of truck driving. The trucking co gets there right off of the lumping fee. The lumpers get there money under the table most of the time. The dock gets there share, and the driver can sleep while his truck is being unloaded.
make it sound like it would be impossiable for me to unload it. so i made a bet with them, they whould unload the first half i would unload the seconed half, there were three of them, i was 19 ( i was working for my dad on my summer off from college were i was a tailback) they were all in there mid 30 and overweight. long story short i beat them my 8 minutes.. they did not say a word to me the next day. but as soon as i got back to the yard my dad, Was in a rage because they called him and told me i was banned from there facility, But i told what happend, he laughed shook my hand, and said he was proud of me..... lumpers suck, like i said i only ran into a few of them, but it was enough, i thought you would enjoy the story...
Page 1 of 28