I have been driving for J.B. Hunt for a total of 11years. I drove 10 years quit and came back to J.B. in January '08. My first time with J.B. was a positive experience, however they began changing in many ways. I went to a JB Hunt school in Alexandria, LA and upon successful completion, I was hired at 19 cpm.
The first year was rough money wise, and there were frustrating times even then of sitting. I had an excellent fleet manager Scott Koettle(Now deceased) who helped me get thru the tough points. Scott was followed by Marsha, Bruce Stewart and then the brains of JB Hunt strated working to change all of that. The company decided to take all the fleet managers and move them to the company headquarters in Lowell, AR and I was assigned a fleet manager Wade Bandy.
The change to Lowell fleet managers was a monumental change, that was the beginning of the end of any quality of life as a driver. This change was preceeded by the usual propaganda of Kirk Thompson, telling us "Don't worry, nothing will change except you will be dispatched out of Lowell". Well that proved to be untrue from the outset. We developed a relationship with our fleet managers, they knew us, knew our family, and knew how we worked and whether or not they could count on you. We were dispatched accordingly. I averaged at least 3,000 miles per week of true over-the-road freight. I was mad if I had a week that I only got 2500 miles. It just did not happen.
Over the Road was coast to coast, top to bottom. Admittedly an East Coast to West Coast run was the exception, but I managed at least one per month, and yes we had the rail then too. We also had a company uniform, which I think projected a good image to our customers. Other Drivers ragged on us just like they do now, but I knew we were a professional driving group.
I left J.B. in July 2003 because I could not deal with the change in the way the fleet manager relationship changed, but I was making good money and felt fairly secure in my job. I strongly desired to be home more and left for a local job at home.
Five years later I found myself in a bad situation of the company I was working for sold to another company, that sold again within two months to someone else. I discussed the situation with my family and we decided to call J.B. Hunt, where I did not like the changes they made, but I did make good money, and I felt I could deal with the changes. I called the recruiting department and in less than 2 minutes this recruiter was scheduling me for orientation in Little Rock. I said "Wait a minute" I have some questions, first.
I asked about mileage and was told I would average 2500 miles per week. I would run out of Port Allen, LA, I would be reinstated at the pay I was at when I left. Well I went ahead and took the offer. I showed up at orientation in North Little Rock, AR and was pleased to see most of the people still there, that I worked with before. It gave me a nice warm feeling and I really felt like I was coming back home to a good company. I was never more WRONG in my life.
In less than a year all of those people I knew were gone. J.B. Hunt in one of their butchering moves decided they no longer needed the service of some over 20 year veterans. In one day they went from a job to unemployment. My first fleet manger was James Moore and the miles were non-existant. I had a good relationship with James but he played the new J.B. Hunt game. James left and he was replaced by my current fleet manager Chris Scalf. Chris and James I believe to be good people, and I do think they both cared about me as driver, but it was nothing like the relationship I had with the fleet managers my first stint with J.B. . I have been here almost a year now, hoping things would get better, but it is not happening. My average miles are less than 2000 miles per week and the majority of my time I am sitting in a truck that is not moving.
I have seen big customers that we used to have like Wal-Mart, the big 3 automakers, Proctor & Gamble move their business elsewhere. We still haul for them, but not on the scale we used to. I believe Over the Road at J.B. hunt is finished. J.B. Hunt has placed most of their emphasis on other divisions. They have closed over 50% of the terminals we once had, they have reduced the number of tractors and trailers significantly and the average dispatch is more like 2-300 miles.
Also not a week goes by that I must watch my pay. I have to hound my fleet manager to get the pay I deserved. Use to I watched my pay, but never had to ask to be paid for something I did, it was automatically there. Not anymore, they will cheat you out of whatever they can get by with. I have been sitting currently for 22 hours no load and 811 miles for the week.
Lets talk about getting home. They say you can go home every 14 days, UNTRUE. Each fleet manager is only allowed to hae so many trucks at home. This time I wanted to come home for Thanksgiving, I was told that I could not and the the first availiable day to come home was 12/1, which is over 30 days away. It does not matter that they do not have the freight to keep me busy for that 30 days, that's the rule.
I will be leaving J.B. Hunt as soon as possible. They are a TERRIBLE company to work for now and noone cares what they are doing to their drivers. Do not gamble on JB Hunt, you will get burnt.