OK, just to give some background, I've been a truck driver for 6 years, I started as an OTR driver with Schneider after going through their driver training program, then came off the road and drove LTL as a PUD driver for about a year until the economy tanked and I got laid off. My DAC was spotless, and I had a spotless safety record as well, no tickets on or off the job, and not even a scratch on any vehicles. After 4 1/2 months looking for a job everywhere, including fast food joints (one Taco Bell I applied to in the Charlotte area had taken in over 800 applications in 3 days for an entry level job, many of those from people with graduate degrees who were part of the many thousands of financial services layoffs in the area); I was hired by Marten Transport to drive OTR again. Everything I saw when I researched the company online was great, and I loved the fact that they have APU's with hard wired inverters on all their trucks. I thought I had found a good home with Marten, and everything was looking up.
I knew that freight is down for everyone, so I had no complaints when I started getting short runs (usually a 350 mile or so run followed by a 600 or 700 mile run), and when I would sit for a day or two at a time, I never complained, and never had any problem getting layover pay during the week (Marten does not pay layover on weekends). My fleet manager was nice, and seemed to be responsive to my needs, and I tried to make his job as easy as possible. I delivered my loads on time or early except for a couple of cases that were unavoidable, such as being dispatched for a "spot" (drop and hook) load that turned out to be an 11 hour live load, and I communicated those issues promptly on the Qualcomm; no problems there. My problems began when I had to communicate with night dispatch; I had a load that delivered to a Family Dollar distribution center in northern Virginia that was tight when I picked it up, which I communicated to Marten when I sent in my macro 32 (dispatch acknowledgment); so I ran hard, but legally; and ended up having to try to find a place to park at 10 PM in the Winchester area, which every driver knows is not easy to do. I ended up parking at Mt Jackson, and sent a message letting them know it had taken me a while finding a place to park and I was out of hours, and that on time delivery was going to be tight. I was then ordered by night dispatch to park at the consignee, which I knew from being at other Family Dollar DC's was not allowed, and I sent a message back letting them know that, and that I was out of hours anyway and couldn't drive up there legally. I got a message back telling me that customer service said I could park there and to "get going or get a service failure". I tried to call several times, couldn't get anything but voicemail. Since it was all on Qualcomm, I went ahead and drove up there; sure enough, no parking allowed, no place to park on the road or anywhere that I could find nearby, and ended up driving another hour and a half trying to find parking again. I documented it all on the Qualcomm and send in all the appropriate macros to let them know I was going to be late and why, and took a much needed break after driving 660 miles in a 65 mph truck. The next morning, my fleet manager called and wanted to know why I didn't deliver the load on time. I explained everything and guided him through all the Qualcomm messages, and he agreed that the night dispatcher was wrong, he said he'd take care of that on his end, but I still got a service failure and a written warning, which was mailed to me, I never got a chance to respond or even to sign the paperwork.
A few weeks later, I got my first good load since being hired, a dry load from Kentucky to Fontana, CA. Everything went well, and I arrived at the delivery an hour early for a 5 am live unload. At the facility, they had me open the trailer doors at the guardshack and leave them open. The driver's side trailer door was missing the chain that holds it open, and someone had put a shoestring in it's place. I opened and secured the doors, and checked and double checked to make sure they were locked open. The dock door I was given was on the back side of the building, so I drove around the building and found the door I was to back into was in a dark corner of the building. There was a dropped trailer in the door on the driver's side of my door, and dumpsters on the other side; and there was a dropped flatbed trailer in front of the door making it impossible to swing the tractor around as needed to back into the door; so I juked the trailer around and partially blindsided it in. At some point while I was backing in, the driver's side trailer door that was secured with a shoestring came loose, which I didn't see as I was backing in the dark, and before I realized it, I had backed the open door into the facility's dock door, ripping the trailer door off. There were no witnesses, and most of the damage was to the trailer door; no other damage to the trailer other than the one door, and according to the supervisor at the facility, less than $400 damage to the dock door. I took pictures and filled out all the paperwork, and talked to my fleet manager who assured me that "everyone has their days, you've got a good record, you'll lose some points but you'll get them back in a year, this isn't that bad, I've seen a lot worse". So my next load was from Ontario to Wisconsin, another good run, and I was scheduled for time at home in NC after I delivered that load. On the day I delivered I got a message telling me after I was unloaded to bring the empty trailer to Mondovi, it was sold and they needed to prep it for sale, and they would route me home from there, he should have a load either directly there or close by that he could swap me out on. Got to Mondovi late in the evening, unhooked, let the trailer shop know the trailer was there, washed the truck, ate, and went to bed. The next morning my fleet manager called my cell phone and told me to come to the driver's lounge and use the phone there to call his extension and he would meet me in the lounge. I did as he asked, and he told me to hang there and he would be there in a few minutes. I waited, and a girl came out of the office calling my name. She introduced herself, said she was from Human Resources, and she just needed to talk with me about my accident for a minute. I asked her if I was in trouble and half jokingly asked her "am I getting fired?", and she just laughed and said again she just had to talk with me for a few minutes, that they always have to do this with an accident. So we went into a private room, she asked me to tell her again what happened, and took notes on everything I said. After I was through, she took a stack of papers she had with her and started going over them with me, she said that they had investigated the incident and determined that it was preventable, which I never argued with, almost any accident is preventable unless you're parked and someone or something else hits you, and I'd been kicking myself for days for not getting out and triple checking before I backed in. She went over the points with me, 4 points for a backing accident, doubled to 8 because I'd been with Marten for less than a year. Then she said that unfortunately I was also on a written warning, and because of this they had to terminate my employment. She then gave me a few travel options, very few, there are only 3 rental car companies 25 miles away in Eau Claire; one doesn't do one way rentals at all, and the others had nothing available. That leaves a $200, 2 or 3 day long bus ride or a $400 to $500 flight; either way I'd also have to pay to ship all the stuff in my truck home. Now bear in mind Mondovi is not exactly in a metropolitan area, leaving me basically stranded 1100 miles from home with very few options to get myself, and all the stuff in my truck home. While they were within their rights to do whatever they wished as an at will employer, it would certainly say a lot more for the company had they at least separated me at Forest Park, GA; which is where I picked to truck up at to begin with. I also told the HR person that we should at least be allowed to respond and give our side of the story, and be able to give context if necessary when we are given any kind of warning. I also was given no opportunity to appeal or answer anything in the termination, which I know is not required, but would be the ethical thing to do.
There were instances while I was driving for Marten when I would be given a load that was not possible for me to run legally, I would tell them it wasn't possible and give them an ETA that was legal; and they would keep going through drivers till they found one that would take it. I am not a driver that spends all my time at truck stops, I don't mind running 600 or more miles in a day; but I do keep a recap and run legally. And the time I mentioned before where I waited 11 hours being live loaded at a supposed drop and hook pickup, I never received a dime for detention; because that shipper doesn't pay detention, and Marten only pays detention if the shipper pays them. And if you have to sit on a load during the weekend because the consignee is not open on weekends, you do it for free, because layover is not paid on the weekends (and all this is in Marten's employee handbook).
So that is the story, with every detail for all the detail oriented people. Marten has many good points, I won't deny that; but there are also many things they need to work on. If you insist on running legal, they won't force you to run illegally; but they will implicitly try to push drivers to do so. I talked to many Marten drivers who cooked their books so to speak, and their fleet managers willingly looked the other way as long as they made on time delivery. All in all, I think Marten is one of the better companies out there, but I think people should know the full story, and I do feel like the way I was terminated was pretty $#!&&% at best. And the worst part is now I'm gonna have this on my DAC, which is gonna screw me for a long time.
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The end of another week with Marten Transport, and again, they fail. This company is ridiculous. After another week of not coming close to getting the advertised miles for the upper Midwest region, I found it necessary, or should I say my DM found it necessary for me, to talk to Dan Blair, again, about the lack of miles I was being given. Dan Blair's answer was as follows, I am of course paraphrasing, but you'll get the idea: "You need to motivate us, as managers, to get you the miles you're supposed to be getting. You need to be on that phone, blazing up the quaalcom and sending redundant messages. You need to push us, here in the office."
All I can say is Bull$h1t! It is not my job to motivate any manager to do his job, ever! I don't receive motivation pay. Dan, you are arrogant, narcissistic, patronizing, deflective, irresponsible, defensive, obtuse and lack genuine leadership capacity. Marten's macro's are very detail oriented and it is the managers and load planners job to decipher that information and dispatch drivers according to the information that is put into the quaalcom system; that's why it's so detailed, stupid! The fact that you used a lack of redundancy as an excuse for me not getting the miles I am supposed to receive, shows your lack of effective management and training of your staff, not to mention the overwhelming inefficiency and lack of concern you have for any of your driving staff. You stated that you have 20yrs in this industry. Wow, no wonder it's going to hell in a hand basket. Open your mind, stop defending laziness, correct the problem and earn your pay, for once. You have a responsibility to all your drivers and to your office personnel and you're neglecting it by taking the easy way out. Be accountable for your failures, stop defending them, it's weak!
Let's address your solution to the problem Dan; redundancy on the quaalcom and use of the phone. In theory, both wonderful ideas, but here's the facts, I wait, often for hours, to get responses on the quaalcom, I have a limited time that I can work each day, as do all drivers, and it is not my responsibility to do managements job, ever, just like it's not your responsibility to navigate the road ways in a safe, legal and timely manner. Use of the phone; again, great in theory, however, Marten's management is notorious for not returning phone calls, not answering the phones when they see it is a driver and not responding to emails or voice mails. So, why don't you just train your staff to do their job's, you do your job and stop laying all the responsibility of your incompetence on the drivers. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF AND YOUR LACK OF ETHICS AND DEDICATION TO THE PEOPLE YOU'RE BEING PAYED TO LEAD! YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO SET THE EXAMPLE FOR YOUR SUBORDINATES, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!
I am actually probobaly going to get canned from marten in a few days, Cause I was hanging a sharp left and my trailer wacked a parked trucks mirrors and scratched his fender. so What I say may be interpeted as sour grapes. I will do a breakdown of marten policies and equipment and I will try to be fair though
Electronic logs, you are getting them, trust me. Some trucks driven by older employees wont have them, but you will have them installed if you get a truck that doesnt have them when you get it. not as big a problem as most people think. You can do some off duty driving even with a trailer on and edit on duty time to off duty or sleeper.
Forced dispatch, This policy is one I was aware of before I went to marten. I was supposed to be central midwest. But Twice I have been sent to New jersey. Once in new Jersey I was punished by my FM for complaining by giving me a 3 stop local load that was less than 90 miles (at least that is how I see it) If anyone Is thinking about marten in the future, They should consider this forced dispatch policy carefully. I thought I could handle it. But in retrospect I should have considred it more carefully. I will make sure my next company will not have it.
Miles and detention pay. I have had good months and ok months. you will almost always be under a load. Some of there customers have no problems with leaving you 7 hours waiting to get loaded. and its these customers that never seem to pay detention pay. Thats right, if the customer doesnt pay detention, you dont get it. most customers do however. I have gotten detention pay 2 or 3 times in 4 months. It never seems like much money though. You don't sit much with marten. really. They do alot of load splits where you pick up or drop off at one of their many drop yards. They give you a bait run, some load that is going maybe 80 miles or less to deliver. its supposed to be just one before you get a standard 500 miler but I have had to run as many as 3 smallish ones before getting an ok one. But I have gotten some back to back Long ones so I guess it kinda averaged out. Split loads are the rule of the day with this company though.
Steering lock. Well some drivers use them all the time. and I have. but I think most dont bother. seems like its likely just something to make some insurance/risk people happy.
Hometime. I have never gotten home on time yet, useally this was due to my truck breaking down. but my first dispatcher had me planned but the equipment failed . my 2nd dispatcher was a liar so I had myself moved off of his board, my current dispatcher is really good about getting me long runs but doesnt want me to take all my hometime off. If your a super trucker you will not mind this. But if you have things you want to do. you will.
Apu. My truck has one and its nice.
Air slide tandems. They are really my favorite thing at marten. Seems like every regular pull pin type trailer I had in the past required immense strength or just plain help to slide the tandems. the air slides on all the marten trailers have worked perfectly so far.
The points system. a cabalish and secret system. I know little about. a dozen times I have heard from ex marten drivers that have said they have gotten canned for some minor screw up. While a certain amount likely are minimizing what they did to gain sympathy. I have heard too many things about getting canned for tiny mistakes to believe That when I make it to the indy terminal in 3 days I will still have a job. Infact tonight I am going to unload everything but the essentials from my truck before I leave tommorow. This system is too strict and unfair IMO. Because you will not be asked what your side of the story is.
Equipment. all trucks are supposed to be 3 years old or newer. Out of orientation I got a 4yo columbia with a gutless cat. after driving it for only a week I turned it in for maintainece and it turned out to have serious problems so they gave me another 4 yo gutless cat columbia that I have had in the shop 4 times now. At the moment everything seems to be running ok finally. Breakdown pay is lousy btw.
I had a clean dac before I came to marten. Now I kind of regret doing so. To me there is a huge difference between knocking a door off of a trailer and say running a bus load of nuns off the road and down a chasm to a fiery death. But I gather they don't feel the same way.
Truck driving sucks, but it pays the bills. If you feel this way too please realize that there is nothing any trucking company can do about it. Not and stay competitive and afloat anyway.
In general Running reefers is ok, But not worth the extra hassle of having to baby sit one. Although they seem to always have good freight, a little better than dry van. So if your paying off cars and a mortgage you might want to think about that.
As reefer companies go, from what I can tell marten is one of the better ones. But as I am not in debt and I keep expenses low. a nice dry van company with 2k miles a week with less hussle and hassle would have suited me better
as for e logs, been here 6 years, and every 'older' i khave spoken with is / has gotton them, including the Jelly Belly Fleet.
Gutless Cat engines yes they, but once the pull the truck off the fleet to sell, they open it back up.
the system? there maybe one, but ya need to play thier game with your rules,,, been doing that for 6 years now.
Yup those big 500 miler runs for OTR TRUCKS, we be making big money now, on the force perdeim sliding pay scale.
You my friend my be lucky if they do decide to get rid of you. Because in the long run, this force perdeim will screw you every which way but loose. Then Uncle Sam gets his turn.
Sorry to hear you had the acciedent. I don't know your history, but you maybe surprised.
3 weeks after i started with them i had an incedent where i high centered a new trailer on a post,( dont ask lol) And i lost all but 3 points out of a possible 12.
Went 3 more years with no problems, then one night, had another one while exiting a fuel island... I'm still here.
Been thru so many dispatchers i have lost count now. So far have only had to good ones.
Used to be a great company before tim kohl formly of Knight was hired to f things up. Gone are the long loads of 2,000 milers back to back to back. Rail gets them now/OTR Drivers doing regioanl runs, while the regioanl ratts get thier 2 days aweek off.
You used to be able to walk up to a Marten driver and ask him/ her things are with Bluebird, and they had nothing but praises.
Now you just get a driver crying.
At the same time, you saw another Bluebird going the other direction, and each would wave at the other. Not no more, most times your lucky to get the middle finger.
Then you have Tim Norlan lying his ### off on the Nemo show, saying once your paid money, they can not take it back. They did exactly that to a friend of mine who had dentention owed. They paid her, then two weeks later took it back.
And if any hear this past Monday he was on when a guy named Tony called in with a comment about Maint. Issuses, Tim and Nemo HUNG UP ON HIM. 4 DAYS TO get work done on his truck, even after sending an appoinment request 4 days earlier.
Tim said that never happens. BS. I have needed work done on my truck have sat 6 days at a terminal, waiting to get work done, because Marten is to cheap assed to let us going to Frieghtliner.
Hell they even make company drivers divert out of route 100+ miles to give up thier spare tire to another truck needing a spare.
Ive been called at home a couple of time on my time off, telling me to take my spare 75 miles away to this driver needing one. I say you pay me prevailing HOURLY WAGE and buy my gas both ways, and i will.
They won't ,so i won't.
Agin i wish you the best, if your forced to move on
That's a bummer Skibum! I was planning to go with the bluebird this spring! Now I'm wondering about them too! I'm not a really picky guy but sometimes dispatchers playing the games most of them play. Just cant go out there do a job and get paid for it anymore can ya? I'm still considering bluebird but just a little more skeptical about them! Like I said, I can deal with a lot of crap but in the long run as long as I'm making decent money and getting some home time I'm good. I just hope I can find someone to drive for by late Feb or March! I just thought that maybe Martin was gona be the one! Of course the company I drove for the last few years was a real treat! It was pretty good pay, benies but the games were the most intense I've ever had and that wasn't worth it!
lol, man before you head to MARTEN orientation, keep asking drivers at the truckstops what they think. You cannot run illegally=no money.
cant take your loads home with you at the end of tour=you cant just go home and see your family, you have to go out of your way and park your load at aterminal first, then go home...dont forget to tell your wife that youll be home saturday afternoon.
ORIENTATION...forget what the company kissa//es tell you about working here.....just show up for orientation...when you go out on a smoke break, you will see drivers cleaning out there trucks right in front of you...all pissed off and their wife will be waiting in the car as the stuff gets all thrown in the back......when I was at orientation...i went for a smoke and saw 6 guys cleaning out there trucks....man I was just like...I got a real bad feeling about this place.....turned out I was right about my suspicions.....after 7 years...Marten is the reason why I finally stopped trucking and went to school changed my career.....it is the graveyard of suckers. Look for someone else is your best bet
Wow, I think I'm glad I stuck w/ my present company now. I almost jumped ship and went to Marten. I was supposed to start orientation in Phoenix today. I had talked to a couple of Marten Drivers and they liked the company. What they told me matched up w/ what the drivers were saying. My miles were getting low, I was getting passed up for loads w/ good miles on them for short bs runs or just plain forgotten about for a couple days. My terminal mananger found out I was planning on leaving and talked me into staying. I think I'm glad now. WOW!!!
I about went thrut he roof. I can accept losing 95% of the 2000 miles loads to the rail, but now loads under a 1,000 going to the rail?
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