Truck Driving Companies Pay Training - C.R. The UK is one of 18 trucking companies running its own training programmes. Many former drivers complained of receiving inadequate training from the company. Credit: Sean Rayford for The New York Times
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Truck Driving Companies Pay Training
Update: In June, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced it was launching an investigation into a number of employment practices that leave workers in debt, including the trucking industry practices we've outlined below. The consumer protection agency said it wants to know whether training repayment agreements, which are used by the companies we investigated, are leaving workers in debt and making it more difficult for them to find better-paying jobs. The agency is opening a three-month public comment period to gauge the value of training that handles loans and to determine whether employees are aware of the terms of the contracts they sign. Government officials also want to know whether companies in many industries are unfairly forcing their employees into debt to pre-purchase equipment and supplies that workers need to do their jobs. - Sarah Butrimovich and Meredith Coldner
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Wayne Orr still didn't know he'd broken his leg on the drive home from Texas to South Carolina, but he knew he couldn't keep pushing the pedals on the tractor-trailer he was driving.
A new driver just a month into his training period, he has to sit out six weeks without pay. Then, when his leg recovered, he learned that his company, CRST Expedited, had laid him off. Frustrated, and in need of a paycheck, he found a new job driving for Schneider International, but was again thwarted. He said CRST threatened to sue Schneider for hiring him.
"I called CRST and they told me they wouldn't take me back and I had to pay them $6,500 or I wouldn't drive for another company again." Orr, who is 59, said.
He was contracted to work for CRST for 10 months in return for a two-week training course. If he doesn't last 10 months, the contract requires him to pay the company $6,500 for that training.
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After breaking his leg at work, Wayne Orr said his company fired him but insisted he pay them back $6,500 for training costs. Credit: Sean Rayford for The New York Times
Every year, thousands of aspiring truck drivers sign up for training with some of the nation's largest trucking companies. But training programs often fail to deliver the promised compensation and working conditions. And those who leave early can be pursued by debt collectors and blacklisted among other companies in the industry, making it difficult for them to find new jobs.
At least 18 companies, employing thousands of drivers, run programs aimed at students who qualify for commercial driver's licenses. Generally, to receive free training, new employees must drive for the company for six months to two years, usually starting at a low salary.
"Companies sign them into this locked-in service contract where they basically have to drive and work for the company," said Michael Young, a Utah-based attorney who is representing a former intern in a lawsuit against CR England. be a source of profit. The Utah-based company employs nearly 4,800 drivers.
Truck Drivers' On The Job Training Can Be Costly If They Quit
With fast delivery expected by America's e-commerce pioneers, trucking companies are under a lot of pressure and have to do it fast. The American Trucking Association, a trade association, has warned of a historic shortage of large trucks. But researchers and driver representatives say the reason for the high turnover is that many large companies fail to make their jobs interesting enough. The industry has been plagued by class-action lawsuits over working conditions and wages, leading to hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements.
"This training program is like a money mill for them. They sell you a lot of dreams." Wayne Orr, a former coach in a company-sponsored trucking program
According to the trucking trade group, CRST and C.R. Nine out of 10 drivers leave their jobs within a year at major carriers such as the UK. Companies need a constant flow of new hires to maintain revenue. Without locking them into a contract, companies risk offering higher wages to their newly trained drivers.
"We think the C.D.L. School is a great benefit that we can offer, but not one that we can provide if people don't work with our team or eventually pay us back," CR UK's senior legal Officer "If people just want to go to another company, that's where we try to protect our investment," said executive TJ England.
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CRST, an Iowa-based company, would not respond to specific questions for this article, but said in an emailed statement that its training program has "brought thousands of drivers into the industry who could not otherwise obtain a commercial driver's license." "Maybe." For Orr's account, a spokeswoman would say only that she left out important facts.
The Hitchinger Report interviewed more than 30 current and former truck drivers with knowledge of the company's training programs, including 15 who had gone through them. Almost all 15 left before the end of their contracts, despite wanting to finish. One was given just four days at home in the four months she drove for CRST, just a quarter of what she said was promised in her contract, according to a filing with the Iowa Attorney General's Office. According to the complaint.
Others described weeks of unpaid time spent waiting for coaches. Many said they were never told they would be sitting for hours without pay while they waited for their trucks to be loaded and unloaded, or even that they had days to get a new job. . Many drivers said they were told by companies that they would earn more than they did. Since drivers are paid by the mile, the time spent waiting takes a significant cut from their pay.
In their job ads and pitches to recruiters, companies promise earnings of up to $70,000 in the first year and higher salaries in the future. But according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for all truck drivers, regardless of experience, was $47,000 in May 2020. Only the top 10 percent of earners had incomes above $69,500.
Is There Really A Truck Driver Shortage?
Still, many are drawn to trucking despite its sometimes punishing demands, seeing it as a potential ramp to the middle class. New drivers can train at independent schools, which can be expensive, or at community colleges, which take more time. Company training programs are a popular choice for those looking to earn a quick salary.
Many major trucking companies combat high turnover among drivers by running their own training programs and requiring students to sign contracts committing to driving for two years. If they leave, they may pay thousands for their training. Credit: Sean Rayford for The New York Times
Most major companies offer weekly classes; It is important to maintain a constant flow of people. They hire their own drivers, offer referral bonuses for each new person brought on board, and hire recruiters to follow up with those who express interest. In the 2021 Driver Recruitment Training Manual, filed as a trial exhibit, CRST instructed recruiters: "Create an emergency. Let the applicant know we have a few 'spots' open. Our school and Knowledge will soon be filled.
At most corporate schools, students typically spend two to four weeks in a classroom and parking lot. Many former students said the instructions were inadequate and they spent little time on the tracks.
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Amy Jeske attends the 2019 CR England Summit in Indiana. He said she only went outside twice during training, and spent the rest of the time doing exercises in the yard or remembering what to do at the pre-trip inspection.
"Honestly, we didn't do anything most of the time," said Jeschke, 46.
Joy Shimser, 44, who also participated in CR England's training program in 2019 and lives in southern Illinois, said that despite receiving a commercial driver's license at the end of the training, she was unable to drive. Didn't feel ready.
TJ England said the company provided its students with high-quality training that included time in the classroom, driving range and time on the road, as well as skill assessments. He said that the students who failed in the exam will be given additional training.
What Trucking Companies Will Pay For Cdl Training In 2022?
Once they get their license, drivers make actual deliveries to their new employers. They have a coach with them, usually for four to 12 weeks. According to company websites, they receive a weekly rate set by the company, but often between $500 and $800. England said the salary at his company was $560 a week in 2019 and about $784 today.
Trainers can often train hard themselves
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