Swift Transportation - Swift Company Drivers

Issue not resolved
Feb 10, 2011
review #220888

I am a current Swift Driver and I have been reading some of the complaints on this site. I am also retired from another career in law enforcement and I really do not have to worry much about the job security (lucky me). I drive to see the country but I also believe in a good work ethic so I do my best even when I am frustrated. This job can get the best of you if you let it. Like any other labor service, not much is required in terms of education to do the job, so if you are expecting that kind of professional treatment, you are in the wrong business. The same statement goes for most of the "management" in the company. DM's are not really company managers, for the most part they are your mouthpiece (dispatcher) to the real mangement which is the Terminal Manager and the Dept. Heads, Like maintenence, fleet, etc. These are the people who have the juice at the local level. But ultimately it is the Terminal Manager who is responsible to the company for what happens at the terminal. If you notice, there is no real avenue to upper management unless you are bold enough to find names and email addresses of those people and contact them. And in cases where those people are contacted by drivers, they tend to try and hide by contacting the Terminal Manager to intimidate you and your complaint and directing you to not contact anyone but them. But legally, if you have a way to contact those people then don't be afraid to use it, just document that you did it and when. Now, if you are merely posting your frustration on this website then you are not doing much to help yourself. Most drivers have gone through the usual intimidation tactics that DMs and others use. And it's usually your conscience that they target to get you to comply to what they want from you. It's called indoctrination. Some of the lines include "Per company policy" or "This is the what the job is" or "You agreed to do the job" or my favorite "this is an atwill job". The truth of the matter is that you can be fired at ANY time from ANY job in the U.S., the question is; Can the employer say it was for cause? (meaning you knowingly or purposely violated a rule or policy) Thus not having to pay the unemployment payments to you. Know your Driver Handbook and the DOT laws that directly pertain to you, memorize them and understand them, they are you best weapons. Corporations do not see you as an individual, "literally" you are a number. But not to fret, so is your DM and the rest, they are numbers as well. The real trick is "Proof" and legal proof at that. What is legal proof? First is direct testimony, Your word or recollection. Next is documentation; Did you write anything down? Next is tangeble; Do you have pictures or other documents such as receipts or broken parts? Then comes witnesses and so on. Getting mad and venting on the phone helps a little in the heat of the moment but it is largely what is expected from you and really useless, DMs are trained for that. So here is what I do: First, keep good paperwork. Your scans are great proof especially if you document arrive and departure times on the BOL and any other notes that you think are relevant like weather conditions, rude peoples' names, faulty equipment you are directed to use, etc.. Second, use the email address of your DM/Dispatcher to communicate problems with them or anyone else in the company but don't your address given to you by their system. Use your own email address or create on on gmail, yahoo with your name ex:Jon-Doe21@yahoo. In most cases they will not respond directly to any of your claims via email because the lawyers tell them not to. They will want to call you and tell you on the phone in some politically correct story, the law says you cannot record a call for evidence and if you do it has to be legally identified, but you can record a call to dictate notes to yourself with and convert the words said to a journal or email to yourself. Remember, emails are time and date stamped, create a folder for your sent and received messages and move them into it as you go along. But be very professional and do not use profane language. Be direct and to the point and even with boldness, and name the names of the people involved. If you are making a claim for compensation then state in the email somewhere that it is a claim for, ie. "please accept this as my claim for $25.00 as detention on order #00001", This is considered legal notice, and it is now a permanent record. Now here is the difficult ones. If your company uses qualcomm then take digital pictures of all of your messages, use muti pics if the message is long. Then transfer those pictures to a folder on a computer and rename them by the date and time on the message ex:(2-11-10 0430). Believe me, you will thank yourself later. This is a timeline in addition to your log and can be used as "direct evidence" in any proceeding. Record "all" messages you receive on the unit, even if you think it is useless. Next, if your company has a website and a way for you to see your pay statements and or performance evaluations and emails they send you, Print them or store them on your computer or get copies when the occassion arises, keep a good file of them. Next, Write an email to yourself to record statements made to you by anyone in the company, remember, it's timed and dated and therefore admissible in most cases as a journal or diary, remember to get names and the time it occured, many companies record their calls onto a data base that they can keep for up to two years and listen to them later. Next, keep up on your company and the complaints against it in the courts. Companies are always being sued by someone. If you have a computer then just type in the name of your company and the word lawsuit. You'd be surprised what pops up. You can join a lawsuit if it pertains to you and your situation. Usually the plaintiff attorney will be on it and you can contact them directly. You can also look at company activity if it is publicly traded to see how it is doing financially. When you research a company, look for patterns, such as the same kind of complaints and who is making them and why and where. This can give you great info on where the problem people are.

Now here is a couple of don'ts, Don't rely on what you hear from other drivers or even from dispatchers or DM's. Company personnel are trained not to tell what they think you don't need to know. You are really NOT an employee, YOU are really a contractor/employee, it's kind of a legal limbo between the two. If you are serious about your complaints, then don't share them openly. Certain drivers love to spread rumors and bragg and snitch. If you are serious about your job then be professional at all times and don't blame customers for your problems or time spent at their locations. If you are not sure of how to word something, then seek help away from the business. Call an old friend or teacher and use a dictionary. Remember, your writings could end up in front of a jury. And always treat the people you are complaining to as if they were a jury, Be professional and to the point and always stay on point, don't let DMs sway you away from what you are claiming. That way your story never changes and is consistent. Now, here is a tactic you can use if you want to. Recently, drivers have been informed about the the new CSA guidelines. You should always remember that if you are the one responsible for the truck and load then YOU dictate weather or not it is safe for operation. If you are being harassed by a DM or other company personnel, when you get to where you are going (home) to do your hometime, Do a PTI and note "ANY" little thing you find and present it to the shop for action, fill out the paperwork yourself, not your DM. If it is a company truck then it has to be inspected by the shop and delt with before you go back out. We all know that aging trucks always have problems, and if the equipment gets enough reports on it from the shop then the company investigates it for liability. Again, remember, the company is about numbers and not your feelings. Business is business, and it works both ways, you just have to make it work for you as well as them. Hope this helps some of you and if you work for Swift, check this out

http://www.hbsslaw.com/cases-and investigations/swift_transportation_lawsuit

it is a link to a lawfirm (Hagens&Berman)that is handling a current lawsuit on Swift, go on it and check the "related news" on the swift lawsuit concerning routing miles. If you follow the recent Swift Company on the kiosk or website news then you know about the recent message about Maptuit directions on the qualcomm preplans and that the company has gone public and B service is now every 35k miles, all of these are related to cost. Usually when a very large company goes public, it is an exit strategy for the owner. DM's and managers will dismiss this as just another rumor and that is fine, But if you understand how the courts work then you will know that something like this usually ends up with a settlement of some sort and does not actually go to trial. I could be wrong but then again...all you have to do is check and maybe even join the lawsuit like I did.

Another tip: Many companies are announcing "weekly hometime routes and lanes" be careful with that, get all of the info you can before you drop your job for one of those companies, get your deal in writing first.

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9q94mxqx9Z

May 29, 2013 San Francisco, California

Ok, here is a short solve for trouble at swift from a drivers perspective .buy a lime color safety vest and wear it at all times .this little 13 dollar bit of majic will protect you from a wide variety of paper tigers that roam about. It is also usefull in warding off vagrants zombies hobos and. a huge assortment of evil doers everywhere. Yes I know its actually a majic spell developed in more socialist nations like canada but what works works. One of our top men in kansas wears this thing around like a suit and people kiss his *** all day long. I am not kidding. I hardly ever take mine off. Its like the modern day equivalent of a cowboy hat. So in closing remember to buy that safety vest. It is just like the movie about a majic ice cream suit. It is useless to fight a beuracracy that is why it is developed in the first place.

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Vighkin2

Jun 10, 2013 Austin, Texas

I hear you on that 9q94mxqx9Z. Once again, these novice drivers do whatever they are told to do even if there is no reason to do it. But I will always fight useless bureaucracy any time I see it. It is the only way to keep a balance. I will never surrender and be a drone for anyone. If my life is so dismal that I cannot think for myself then I will start that aimless walk into the vast desert without water on my own terms, not anyone else's. Good post though...

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Vighkin2

Aug 20, 2012

Amanda, I'm not sure what you mean by W/O. Perhaps you meant O/O and if 700.00 dollars was deducted for a mere B-Service then there is definitely something very wrong. All Owner Operators are notified of any major repairs and cost before it is done just like any outside shop would do. If your husband is a Company Driver then he does not pay for any B-Service repairs. Unless he has willfully or purposefully caused damage to the truck in some way, then he should not be charged for any repairs. Your first questions about the 700.00 should be directed to the DM, and Fleet Manager and Terminal Manager all in one meeting. If you have a small voice recorder or smart phone recorder then don't be afraid to use it. There is no law that says you cannot secretly record a meeting that you are a part of. If it was a clerical error then it should be fixed immediately and for that amount of money they can make a special request to be deposited onto your Comdata card that you can use to withdraw the funds from an ATM. Do not be afraid to make a firm demand for your money, Remember, Jerry Moyes likes to bragg that he's a BILLINAIRE. Don't let them be dismissive with you. And if you have any problems then you should consult your states Small Claims laws. I hope that helps, and please post your results or any problems you have and don't be afraid to name names. Thanks for your post.

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Amanda

Aug 20, 2012

My husband works for swift and just had to take his truck in for b service. he is not an w/o and over 700 was deducted from his check for the b service. is this common practice?

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Vighkin2

Jun 13, 2012

Just a quick note on the Hagens and Berman lawsuit against Swift for "actual miles driven". I am thinking that late summer might bring some news about this case. But in another matter, inquisitive minds want to know if there are (past or present) any company solo drivers that have or have had a qualcomm that allowed them to use it while in motion?

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Vighkin2

Nov 06, 2011

***************************************

Update by Hagens and Berman:

Sept. 6, 2011: The Arizona Supreme Court has declined to review a trial court’s decision to certify a broad class action based on a 2008 appellate court decision that was vacated, which means the case will now proceed to trial.

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Vighkin2

Nov 06, 2011

For those of you keeping up with the Legalities that SWIFT has to face. Here is an update I copied from the Hagens & Berman site. Recently we have seen the company quietly integrate the use of the term "Driver Leaders" into use instead of Driver Mananger. Things like this only occur when the company is legally forced to do it or they anticipate being held legally liable for a certain business practice, remember my statement above that DM's are not really MANAGERS?. In case you haven't noticed, there is a REAL shortage of drivers around the country. The DOT regulations are starting to affect bigger companies deep into their pockets. Watching craigslist and other ad sites, I have noticed some of the larger companies post ads for drivers. Remember, SWIFT will always promote a family oriented and friendly environment for drivers. But under those friendly smiles is nothing short of a total interest in racing for profits along the razors edge. You will be pushed into taking chances with the time you are allowed to work legally. And if you play into that game then only YOU will be punished for it, possibly with YOUR job. There is no rule sayng that you have to USE ALL of your hours at any given time. When you take chances then it's on you. I have now been a company driver for almost 4 years and I have practically begged some of the management to fire me over my not doing things the way THEY want and nothing happens, They only TRY and TALK you into taking those chances. They will... Show more

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Vighkin2

Jun 25, 2011

Old hand, Once again you are getting offended at what you perceive as criticism toward you. That is not the case. My statements are directed at me, that is the grammar I use. In the statement of dignity I stated "If" your stamdards are different. Once again this goes to me not mincing words. That is exactly why I made the statement about "formal" education. In the U.S. the standard is that if you have a proveable formal education ie. "a transcript" and degree then you qualify to enter a job without first proving yourself. I know many geniuses of different trades who do not have a formal education. This is where and what makes the difference in trucking. I do not know any truckers who have a college degree, I'm sure there may be some out there. I do recognize that experience makes a job easier for some but that does not mean that experience equals a formal education. I did not create that standard, our society did. The biggest problem company truckers face is fear. Most have families to provide for and the corporate mentality feeds on that fear. This is the underlying problem with the industry as it is right now in that aspect. O/O's don't have to face that fear. My writings are directed at company drivers who are often victimized by ignorant and greedy corporate tactics that are used to maximize profits with no consideration for what it takes on the part of the "mules" doing the work. The supposed management of the drivers is very, very poor and the reason is obvious, there... Show more

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Vighkin2

Jun 25, 2011

Old hand, Once again you are getting offended at what you perceive as criticism toward you. That is not the case. My statements are directed at me, that is the grammar I use. In the statement of dignity I stated "If" your stamdards are different. Once again this goes to me not mincing words. That is exactly why I made the statement about "formal" education. In the U.S. the standard is that if you have a proveable formal education ie. "a transcript" and degree then you qualify to enter a job without first proving yourself. I know many geniuses of different trades who do not have a formal education. This is where and what makes the difference in trucking. I do not know any truckers who have a college degree, I'm sure there may be some out there. I do recognize that experience makes a job easier for some but that does not mean that experience equals a formal education. I did not create that standard, our society did. The biggest problem company truckers face is fear. Most have families to provide for and the corporate mentality feeds on that fear. This is the underlying problem with the industry as it is right now in that aspect. O/O's don't have to face that fear. My writings are directed at company drivers who are often victimized by ignorant and greedy corporate tactics that are used to maximize profits with no consideration for what it takes on the part of the "mules" doing the work. The supposed management of the drivers is very, very poor and the reason is obvious, there... Show more

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Old Hand

Jun 24, 2011

BTW, Your comment on standards for "dignity" was uncalled for. If you have to put me down for expressing my point of view, then I would say your the one with the issue. I retired after 28 years of driving. I will trust my own judgment on trucking companies.
You have left a lot of very long comments on this and other places, you must sit a lot if you have all this time, but like I said, you do not have to worry about miles. You are lucky in that aspect.

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Old Hand

Jun 24, 2011

Please understand, I do see your point, I just have a different opinion, and that's all. I started driving big trucks when drivers got some respect. Sad to say that is not the case anymore.
Even you must admit, your retired and have a different view as the man or woman out there getting every mile they can to make a living for their family. While it may not matter much to you to have a short week, there are drivers out there that it may mean the difference between feeding their kids and not.
Personally, I do look at having to keep up on what the politicians writing the laws for the drivers, education. Ever heard of the school of hard knocks? It may not be as you say, "formal education”, but it is education. I see little difference with things that are learned inside the classroom or outside the classroom. To say that 28 years driving big rigs, heavy hauling, etc is not an education is an error.
I am glad you find some reward in what you do, and hope you will continue to do so. I have had too many friends retire, and die 3 months later, never enjoying what they worked so hard for.
Swift is a huge company, and any company is bound to have issues. I had heard complaints that were justified, and some not. There is good and bad in every company. There is also good and bad drivers in every company. If drivers can keep a good attitude, the jobs goes so much better.
I never meant my words as critical, just expressing my opinion on this public
... Show more

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Vighkin2

Jun 07, 2011

To "Old Hand", my statement that not much education is required to do the job is very accurate. It appears you feel harmed by the statement. That in itself is the true problem with todays business practices. I entered my previous career with just a high school GED. Over the years I attended college courses to help my career. But "Technically", all I have is that GED certificate to this day. Long term drivers know what they have to do to keep driving. Keeping up with rules and regs over the life of your career does not constitute a formal education and the proof of that education. I did not and nor do I mince words. Many great people have done great things without "much" education. This business has been corrupted so much over the decades by politicians, gangsters, and corporations that I really do not see a remedy for it. When I walk into some Swift terminals, ( I can only speak about Swift), and I look at the supposed "management" and watch what they are doing. (I don't watch all day.) Maybe an hour or so, but in that hour here and there I can formulate an "opinion" about the amount of time actually working as opposed to laughing, walking in and out of the work area (cubical), visually and audibly witnessing horseplay, watching sports games on t.v., and many other activities not conducive to productive work. In one case at the Lancaster Terminal the dispatchers had a tv rolled up to their work station for "ALL" to see. This while you are driving an 80k lb. bullet down the... Show more

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Old Hand

Jun 07, 2011

I have to take exception on your statement that not much education is required to do the job. I know of few jobs that require you to take a 200 hour course, a National test, and a test every 4 years, having to take a medical every 2 years. More test if you have haz-mat, doubles, tanker, etc. I will be the first to admit that Engineers, Doctors, etc. have a more difficult education, but few jobs require the government to rule over you, and for you to know all the rules to how long you may work, split sleeper berth, etc. It might be better if Doctors could only work so many hours. I know some of the emergency room Doctors are sleep walking when they are just starting out. But you are driving a 40+ ton bullet, and don’t have any nurse to check you.
I retired after 28 years in trucking. I worked for Swift for 2 years then went to a small company that knew your name. I had a nice little run from Denver to LA and back. I made pretty good money with them, averaging about $1700 a week. Not CEO pay, but not bad either.
The thing you said and I can not stress enough is to document everything. I used a laptop to scan everything. I used a log program (DDL) that printed out Swift logs. You must have a printer and print and sign the logs every day as per DOT. This program will let you know exactly when you have to shut down, and it’s very handy on the split sleeper birth rules. The GPS will let you know where. Send the logs in a separate envelope, marked logs from
... Show more

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Cocoa

Jun 07, 2011

well, Vighkin2, this is nice to know. Considering I worked for them 4 years ago for little over a year. I had an issue with swift's VP of owner op division, by my understanding is not there anymore. After terminating my contract and refusing to tell me why Swift's attorney called me a few months later saying I still owed money on the truck. Well to his unbeknownst knowledge he had no idea I had the arizona law sitting in front of me and what, he the OOP VP did was illegal after telling him to send me the date and time for court that I would be there, I haven't heard a thing and its been two years.

I have to say, I had no problems with Swift just that VP of OOP. I had plenty of loads and miles and home time when I wanted it, etc. I am hoping to go back to work for them soon. Just awaiting an answer.

I had no idea that they were skimming miles though. Boy they will owe a whole lot of people a whole lot of money, I just wonder if the lease operators are included and if the ones who are no longer there would be entitled to the lost miles as well

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Vighkin2

Jan 18, 2013 Walnut Creek, California

Thanks for your post Cocoa, Yes, O/Os will be included. The original plaintiff (who is now decesed) was an O/O. My understanding on the current status on this case is that the "settlement negotiations" have begun as of January 2013. This can be a fairly long process but the lawsuit is a class action and I think it is retro to 1998. You will know when you get a letter in the mail advising you of the offer when it comes or if they are going to trial. If that happens it will be very interesting. A judgement by a trial against Swift could be worth many, many millions in compensatory and punitive damages.

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Vighkin2

Mar 04, 2011

For those of you reading my statement above about Swift Drivers. Recently you have seen an announcement on qualcomm of a "Declaration" on the kiosk for you to read and sign. It appears that the lawsuit against Swift by Hagens and Bergman is moving along. This declaration is worded in a manner that can be tricky to understand. At the bottom it asks for your electronic signature showing that you have "read it" but it does not give any space for you to agree with it or not. It does give you the option to "Refuse to sign". This is another Legal/Lawyer tactic. Remember, the ONLY language a corporation understands is "Legal language" or whether or not it is legal to make you do something to keep your job. I refused to sign it to see what will happen. This is not something you should take lightly, give it careful consideration and take picture of it and maybe get some advice on it before you sign. There does not appear to be a time limit, only a message that you will keep seeing it on qualcomm. That in itself is a hint that you do not have to sign it. I was not able to access it on the website through the internet, another indication that the lawyers don't want you to have it in your hands. If you read the entire lawsuit against Swift you can see that a former executive admitted that miles were routinely shorted by 6%, this along with other factors could mean you are owed money by Swift.

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