I have been driving for Tyson Foods for roughly 2 months now. Here is a clear and honest account of my experiences to this point with this particular company:
- Decent hotel during orientation. Single bunk. You get a voucher in the morning for a breakfast buffet at some Iron Skillet-like restaurant next to the hotel.
- Orientation is decent. The last day they take you to Western Sizzlin for lunch. Post-orientation isn't as disorganized and chaotic as with other companies I've been with.
- They plan you before your current load drops, so you know where you're going.
- Decent miles. They usually keep you moving when you have time. I haven't done below 2300 since I've been here (with a full 14).
- Pickups are about 98% drop and hook.
- Tyson Foods does NOT PAY DETENTION. AT ALL. No matter HOW long you sit. Now, I personally was blatantly lied to about this by one of their recruiters to get me here. I called him concerned about this and he assured me that none of his drivers sit for longer than 2 hours. Now I figured since this was Tyson and a private fleet that this may actually be possible. Unfortunately, even the Orientation guy told me that this was complete BS.
- You WILL sit. Do NOT listen to the recruiter. Some of their customers have taken upwards of 6 hours to get me unloaded. That was completely free. You only get layover after 24 hours and that's only $85. Be esepcially wary of Walmarts. They just give your time away for free, and you sit just as long as drivers from other companies that actually get detention pay.
- They only have a about a handful of longtime drivers here. This is coming from what an 8 year driver told me. He is considered a senior driver here.
- They only have automatics, and honestly, I was excited about this when I heard it. However, they can be a PITA. Especially when backing up. You MUST hit the gas to back up in these things, they don't idle back like manuals do. These Freightliners lurch backwards, so you REALLY have to tap it, and many times that still doesn't work.
- You can fuel where ever you want...as long as it's on the rather short list they give you for each state at orientation. This is especially a pain when you have loads nearly grossing over 80k so you have to come in with a half tank.
- Pay tops out at .41 CPM and I get that after a year here. This is probably why they don't have very many senior drivers. Your guy that's been here for 8 years makes the same as the guy that's been here for 1 year. There is actually a company out there that also hauls Tyson freight and they start their drivers off higher than Tyson starts theirs. Meaning there are guys out their hauling TYson freight making more money than Tyson's own drivers.
- Micromanagement. They WILL call you at 3 AM to nag you about leaving on time. For a 450 mile load that drops at 1300.
- They do not like 34 hour restarts. They will have you sit for an entire day thinking you will be getting a restart, then send you a load that picks up 2 hours before your restart would have been completed. You can get good miles here, but you must have time. When you're on recaps, they try to stick you with shorter loads. They will also do this on the week you said you wanted to be home, risking you later on in the week not having enough time to even get home.
- Parking during hometime. If you live under 150 miles away from a plant/terminal, you cannot park at home. So, if you live 120 miles away from a terminal, then yes, you will be driving 2 hours to and from that plant before and after hometime.
- Their dispatchers can be quite rude and cold. They do offer a "Driver's Help" department comprised of ex-drivers, but they can't be contacted with PeopleNet. You have to call them. They also seem to think that even though they are in college for a Liberal Arts degree and couldn't tell you what a CAT Scale is, that they are in fact able to trip plan better than you can. If you warn them with plenty of time for them to make adjustment that a load will not get there on time, they will argue and debate the issue.
- You cannot edit your logs. This is part of their babysitting. If you, for instance mistakingly leave yourself on on duty, you will need to stop and call the "Driver's Help" department and explain to them why it needs to be changed and only they can change it. I get it, but at the same time, you trust me with a $100,000 death machine but you don't trust me to edit my On Duty time?
- Forced Dispatch, no exceptions. You turn down a load, you're fired. Period. This opens the door to the dispatcher abuse. Guy doesn't like you? Here take this load. Oh you don't like it? Tough. Haul it. This is also a result of them not making their money from hauling freight, so the incentive is not to get you miles, it's to get you loads.
- I despise PeopleNet. I adamantly prefer Qualcomm.
- You will be parking at smelly chicken plants often. Some plants have nice driver's lounges and clean restrooms, others (Green Forest, Arkansas) dust everywhere, horrid odors and the only restrooms available are filthy and unsanitary. Large puddle of piss on the floor kind of filthy.
- You can only send in your loads to payroll during office hours. I'm usually driving during these times, so it's difficult to remember to turn in loads through PeopleNet when you're thinking about a million other things. I wish they would do like others and allow their drivers to send in loads at any time. I would do it during my 10 hour break but 99% of the time my 10 is during off hours.
- Battery operated APUs. I much prefer Diesel. Get used to needing jumps.
As you may have guessed, yes I am currently looking for another company and I am woefully dissatisfied with Tyson Foods. I'm considering the company that hauls their freight but pays more, has guaranteed weekly pay, pays detention, Diesel APUs and less babysitting. If you have any question, let me know. Tyson Foods does have a local/Shuttle fleet but I have no information on that. Check and see if you live near a plant and inquire about it. You may actually have a better experience there, but as for OTR, in my opinion, Tyson Foods leaves a lot to be desired.
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Next time you are on a 10 hour break and they call you and start nagging then tell them you are on a mandated break and they are not allowed to disturb you and that your 10 starts all over at that point. Nothing they can say about it since it is illegal for them to do this.
Wow it sounds like Tyson has gone downhill some. They used to be one of the most respected and best paid drivers out there. I'm lined up to come in on the 1st for orientation. Had a deal with Wal-Mart that fell through then looked into Van Wyk aswell. Overall I think theirs a whole lot better and worse out there. Like any other job it's what you make-it. Just my $0.02
Most of your Cons are BS... I've turned down loads for a number of reasons and I'm still here.. Tyson is a meat company and you pick up at fresh kill plants you have to wait. And you are of those people who will never be happy. Why won't you buy your own truck and run paper logs and be your own boss?? Stop ######## like a little ##### and drive
hi happy 30311, i have been with tyson now for a while, i have turned down loads before myself... i get along with 2 of the 3 dispatchers, i won't say names but i run 1300.... My house is 18.2 miles from my front door and since i blew the engine in my car i have been able to take my truck home, but they say i need to get a car soon... I like my automatic (15) volvo... and to be honest i think i met OP here at the yard in springdale complaining... yea i could be making more money elsewhere... but it would be all different bs.. i can put up with the one dispatcher i dislike other than that tyson has treated me rather good and i am thankful for that! and if you call payroll or the day before or after they will release you loads if they can... really dude once you get into the swing of things its not that bad! I just think you need to trip plan better... Also i get a 34 about every 2 weeks ... Just take the good with the bad ... short haul or long haul ... a run is a run! be thankful to be working!
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