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
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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