FIRED: After 40 years of driving, with 14 years of that driving class 8 trucks for 4 different companies (all glowing references), and with no accidents in a lifetime and no moving violations for 7 years, I was fired for too many points on the Marten point system (they double your points for the first year on the job). Deemed a preventable accident, off road, only involving my tractor and trailer.
It exceeded their "point system". Their point system doubles points for your first year, so it won't take much to get fired, so keep that in mind if you work for Marten. After my accident I was still dispatched and hauled some more but come monday afternoon I got a freindly firing with 2 hours notice to clean out my truck.
I was told that my benefits would stop immediately (I ask you, what if you or one of your dependents should happen to be in a hospital at the time you got fired, think about it). No empty boxes were available at the terminal, so I hurriedly put it all out on the ground, with storm clouds looming, though luckily it never did start raining (so keep some flattened boxes under your matress just in case you get fired).
Marten said they would give me a taxi ride to the bus stop, but that was all. They said they would buy my bus ticket but would take it out of my final pay. I was 2000 miles from home, with no idea how to get all my stuff home, because Greyhound will only allow one checked luggage of 50lbs or less.
If it can happen to me with my good driving and work record, it could happen to any of you. Adding insult to injury, they claimed the damage at $3001 (If they had claimed the damage at $1 less, it would have been less points. I think $1500 would have been more accurate. I used their taxi ride to go to a motel.
I then rented a car to run errands for boxes and to take my boxes to ship via FedEx and then bought plane tickets for my wife and I. The airlines don't allow any free baggage anymore, so we paid an extra $80 to check 4 boxes of our stuff. It all cost me about $1000.
At our destination when we got our boxes off the luggage carousel we found that 2 of our 4 boxes had been searched by TSA (they leave a brochure in your box and then tape with their TSA branded tape) and TSA had not been re-packed the way I had carefully done to minimize that chance of damage to some of the contents.
So while I am on the stump here, since I am writing anyway, l might as well point out some other things that Marten would surely rather I didn't disclose.
Marten says you must have or get your hazmat within 90 days of hire. Recruiting told me that only 5% of the loads were hazmat, and that they don't haul anything dangerous, just maybe something like food additives to a food plant and then haul food out of same plant, for example. And they NEVER haul class 1 (explosives) or class 3 (flammable). This is BS, as I did haul class 3 placarded flammable. I have seen other Marten trucks with placards Flammable or Corrosive, so that's some difference between recruiting and reality.
I reported for work at a west coast terminal, but my W-2 shows I am paying income tax to Wisconsin, this is important to any of you who live in states that have no income tax, as you will take a pretty good hit on your paycheck for WI taxes. And I suppose that if I have to go to court to recoup my travel expenses to get home after my firing, then I may have to go to WI to do it. We'll see, and I will hopefully let you all know at this site how it all shakes out.
When I would dispatch out after days off on the west coast, I would always have a good long haul out to the eastern side. Then I would run mostly in the eastern area. Trucking companies that specialize in this eastern area, that hire in the eastern area, offer another nickel per mile more than Marten to get the help they need.
So, though Martens pay per mile is normal, it isn't really the going rate for drivers on the east side which is where I mostly ran. Also, you don't have a good speed average for the day due to the hills and congestion and so forth that you get with the east side, as well as the hassles of a lack of parking to sleep that plagues the east side. An 11 hours day on the east side leaves me with less miles and more fatigue that the same day would in other areas.
Marten is a medium haul company. I did personally see the memo on the wall of a terminal that explains that the company deems the competition on rates as too competitive for the long hauls, so they would let the competion have the long hauls and concentrate on the medium and short hauls. The only long hauls I got were leaving home, and going home. Marten specializes in being on time for time sensitive freight, mostly food.
Marten says you can take your truck home if you don't have a terminal near where you live. The reality is the requirements for an approved place to park it are near impossible to comply with. If you can park the entire combo on your own property within view from your house, fine. Otherwise, it's tough. You cannot park it at a truck stop. You cannot disconnect the tractor from the trailer ever anywhere, except if it has to go in the shop.
I paid for outdoor storage at a place that caters to about 6 other truckers, and this place even put in a concrete strip for the landing gear to rest on. It is fenced and the sign says they have video, but I could never get Marten to approve this. I spent half my first day off hassling with frantic qualcomms and answering and waiting for approval only to get more questions. I didn't ever try taking the truck home again, I went to parking at the terminal and taking my 4wheeler 150 miles each way for hometime.
In orientation you will be told that all the trailers have air scales, and so Marten only reimburses for scales if the dispatch wt. is 42,000 or more. I trusted the air scales and got 2 overweight tickets in my first month. What they don't tell you in orientation is that over 90% of the air scales are so inaccurate that they are useless.
And then there will be loads where the paperwork might show well over 42,000, but the dispatch will show under 42,000, so dispatch will deny you scale reimbursement. You can appeal up the chain of command, but it is a hassle typing the same explanation and request over and over and you may not be approved. Plan on spending about $40 to $60 per month out of your own pocket for unreimbused scale tickets if you don't want overweight tickets on your record.
You get paid HCC miles, not practical miles. You will lose about 10% on this arrangement. I got a lot of West Virginia and Virginia and you really lose a lot in these states and others on the difference between HCC and practical.
After my first 4 or 5 months with Marten, the economic downturn started impacting, and I and other drivers I talked to were observing that the people in the office suddenly started acting short and rude with us, and it seemed they were walking on egg shells. Hold times for road service and payroll went up drastically. Shop employees told me about this time that Marten had started firing a higher number of drivers than usual, and for flimsy reasons. I talked to drivers that I seen cleaning out their trucks and they were indeed being fired for flimsy reasons.
For the last 2 weeks I was with Marten I was getting 2 days layover after each load. Marten pays $25 per day layover for the first 2 days, then it goes up to a reasonable amount but I would always dispatch out just before the 3rd day would begin. But then the next load would have an extra day on it before delivery so that's like another day of layover (3 days to run an 800 mile load).
Then I would deliver my load and layover for 2 days again. I was averaging about 1500 miles per week for my last 2 weeks. The frustrating part of this is that I verified that Marten was still hiring the usual weekly quota of around 30 to 40 drivers per week even though there wasn't enough work for those of us already on board.
Marten will have you fueling at Pilot with rare exceptions. I am not much for Pilot as they don't seem to have as big of a parking lot so it's harder to get parking at night. Also, the Pilots normally only have fast food, and I need something more satisfying to my body than fast food. Pilots take points off your loyalty card for coffee, whereas coffee is free at the Flying J and Petro. It seems to me that Pilots have on average longer waits at the pumps, more card readers out of service at the pumps on average, and longer waits at the fuel desk than the other major truck stops.
Anonymous on the West Coast