The forces at work on detention pay. Worth the mention...

Discussion in 'Trucking Industry Regulations' started by Fusion, Sep 21, 2014.

  1. Fusion

    Fusion Bobtail Member

    Sep 21, 2014
    The forces at work on detention pay
    Todd Dills | August 06, 2012
    Detention time at shippers and receivers has dominated my discussions with owner-operators about the day-to-day difficulties of the trucking business since the day I started writing in the pages of Overdrive in 2006. Then as now, the constraints of the 14-hour driving window have made long wait times ever more untenable for operators’ profitability. Good thing is, as evidenced by many carriers’ leased-owner-operator pay packages today, that same constraining 14-hour window has made the argument for charging shippers and receivers for long wait times easier to make.
    Further, some owner-operators, such as small fleet owner Thomas Blake, believe the use of EOBRs for hours/vehicle tracking make it even easier to argue for detention pay, while others see the trucking industry’s exemption from the Fair Labor Standards Act and the predominate practice of paying per mile as the biggest barrier to achieving full compensation for operators’ time on-duty. As FMCSA says it continues to conduct research into the problem, all the while it claims lack of authority to regulate shippers and receivers as primary in its inability to do much to address it.
    “Cracks me up!” says owner-operator Jeff Clark. “They seem to find the authority for the things they want to do…. If we weren’t constantly churning drivers, market forces would demand [detention compensation].”
    If you’ve missed our report this month on the state of compensation for detention, the No. 3 named challenge to owner-operator businesses today, find a portion of it here.
    And here’s what sources for the story had to say otherwise:
    Owner-operator Clark
    It varies from customer to customer for me. We have two customers that I refuse to service because of slow unloads and no detention.
    And yes, I absolutely believe mandatory detention [should be law].
    Landstar’s Joe Beacom
    Landstar and its agents place great effort into pursuing detention pay and compensating its BCOs for detention time.
    Prime’s Don Lacy
    “Every second counts” is a project name applied to our continuing efforts to reduce waiting time. Prime has long been a strong proponent of billing shippers and receivers when they waste our operators’ time. Obtaining timely approval by the customer is the biggest challenge.
    Allen Smith
    Regarding his work as a company fuel hauler based in Florida, Smith says, “I personally get compensated somewhat for detention time.”
    Detention time however is a major problem for OTR drivers. Not only do they not get paid ( many times) for the hours wasted at loading docks, but the time waiting eats up their clock as well as puts pressure on them for the next load. Since drivers get paid by the mile, waiting at docks is analogous to someone with a nine-to-five being forced to take a few hours a day off without pay, then expected to make up the work they lost. Many times this cuts into their mandated break to rest. Talk about safety and truck driver fatigue! I would think the safety groups would be all over this, but why not? All they can focus on is the driver.
    If the FMCSA has “no authority” to impose national rules for detention [on shippers and receivers], then why not put it in the [multiyear transportation reauthorization] just as EOBRs have been?
    Konrad Po and HeWhoMustNotBeNamed Thank this.
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  3. bigdogpile

    bigdogpile Road Train Member

    May 16, 2010
    fontana ca
    Or you can just refuse to drive for any company that wont pay detention..
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2014
  4. rambler

    rambler Road Train Member

    Nov 5, 2007
    There's something Mr Dills and possibly a lot of other people may not know. A LOT of carriers have been getting detention pay for years, they just dont share it with the drivers.
    As far as the FMCSA getting involved, trucks and truckdrivers (whether o/o or fleet driver ) fall under the operating guidelines set forth by the federal government because they are a federally regulated commerce. I have never seen a provision anywhere that states a shipper must get trucks out in a timely manner. Shippers are not federally regulated, unless it's a hazardous substance they are handling/shipping etc. There's no provisions I'm aware of requiring a certain time frame to get trucks loaded/unloaded in a timely manner.
    For sure it's a problem that needs to be looked at, but I wouldn't hold my breath on anything coming in the form of help from the fed.
  5. Common Sense

    Common Sense Bobtail Member

    Sep 24, 2014
    Charlotte, NC
    We don't need the feds on this one. We "drivers" have all the power here. Shippers and receivers waste our time because we let them. My guys don't go to grocery warehouses, paper mills or mega shippers for this reason.
    We can't allow this to continue. If you go to Mc Donald's and ask for extra BBQ sauce for your chicken nuggets, you got pay for it. I'm not gonna let shippers and receivers abuse my time for free.
    6 Speed Thanks this.
  6. KenworthGuyNH

    KenworthGuyNH Road Train Member

    Dec 11, 2011
    Central, NH
    I just don't think it's a government solution......I'll admit I am NOT affected by it at industry segment and my situation......detention just is a non-issue. But here it is: if companies just DON'T work for shippers that use their equipment as rolling warehouses..........problem solved. The kicker is the mileage pay model......companies are not highly motivated because their labor cost for the waiting period is negligible. Fix the pay model.......detention will take care of itself. Easy for me to say, right?? LOL
  7. Cowpie1

    Cowpie1 Road Train Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    Kellogg, IA
    I have always gotten detention as an O/O for the last decade, at least, after the first 2 hrs. Just part of the contract. Granted, don't claim it often, due to the fact most customers I work with don't hold me up for anything. Sometimes I don't even ask for it, yet I see it on settlement. Example, took a load to Conagra in Lakeville, MN. They claim they needed it at 1800. Got there at 1745. I was out of hrs anyway at that point, so figured I would take a 10 there anyway. They could not unload till 0700 next morning. I didn't even worry about detention, as I took a full 10 break. On next settlement, $380 in detention was paid by Conagra. Not bad to get paid to take a 10 hr break! I realize a lot of folks don't have the same situation, but it does beg the question why they don't, and why they haul for those that won't make good. It is a choice. No one is forced to haul anything.
  8. PoleCrusher

    PoleCrusher Road Train Member

    Aug 26, 2014
    You're right in saying that no one is forced to haul anything...but there is a caveat. For many drivers, its either make enough to support their family by driving...or not, and if they refuse to work without guaranteed detention pay there will be another driver in the seat they occupied in a couple weeks. And for o/o with there own authority, don't worry, plenty of carriers out there that will leave their truck sit in that dock for 10+hrs, and they will have no revenue... and soon no truck. Unfortunately, there are just too many drivers and carriers that will put up with it.

    So for many, that's their choice...wait on it, haul it, take the shipper's bs... or not eat, until they can work themselves into something better.
  9. LMB

    LMB "Olde Goat"

    Aug 12, 2007
    Rocky Point NC
    So you charge for detention, If you break down on the way to the receiver, are you gonna pay for being late??
  10. Cowpie1

    Cowpie1 Road Train Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    Kellogg, IA
    Yeah, it is always a choice. One can acquiesce to the status quo of doing what the other carriers are doing. In which case, they really have no gripe. Or they can either go against the flow and work only with customers that limit this kind of nonsense, or go find another career. I avoid dealing with customers who like to play the waiting game, and are readily willing to compensate me for my time if they hold me up unnecessarily. I have no problem working with a customer if circumstances are clearly beyond their control, like short of help because several called in sick, product not quite ready because of a problem on the line, etc. But not for incompetence or willful neglect. I have pulled away from docks before loading and moved on to better things when the shipper has been a total prick. Even the carrier I work with, if a consignee is going to play games about unloading time, I just take the load to a drop point and leave it an move on. Not going to sit around there waiting for them to get their act together. Both situations are extremely rare, because I make it point to not even get into that mess to begin with. After over 3 decades at this game, I have pretty much picked up on who to avoid. And on the occasional broker load I pull, any detention is agreed upon before the truck moves one foot. Have gotten detention from brokers. Again, the situation is not often, but it can happen. But it is agreed upon up front, not argued later.

    This all should be much easier for anyone, with the freight capacity down across the country. Now is the time to set new standards and quit playing the game the "old way".
  11. stuckinthemud

    stuckinthemud Medium Load Member

    Oct 20, 2013
    There are receivers who will charge for late delivery.

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