USA Truck hired my Husband back in November of '04; they told him of the usual stuff, a sign on bonus, lots of miles, home every two weeks, good health plans and so on.
As it had been a while since he last drove, he took the opportunity to regain some of the experience he had lost in his year-long hiatus.
Since he had the lapse, he had to go through a two-week course with a trainer. It was then that he was hearing of little indescrepancies, pay issues, unhappy drivers, shorted paychecks, missing reciepts, etcetera.
All this, added to the fact that in one case, a trainee was sodomized when he was taking his rest in the bunk by the trainer he was assigned to. Poor fella was surprised awake by the attack and there was nothing he could do. To quell potential ripples this might have on the rest of the recruits, USA sent around a memo to everyone, stating that the driver had been fired for his indiscretions. Apparently this wasn't all that much of a threat, because a while after that incident, my Husband saw another man quit because the driver he was assigned to had touched him inapproriately.
The driving tests they administer require you to come to a specific distance to a curb, berm, or rail; now, I do understand and agree with the fact that a Semi driver has to have a strict test. Those trucks are massive, so I can support the fact that they're picky about touching a curb, or getting too close, and I'm fine with that. But the instructor not letting you pass based on the fact they don't like you? No, that doesn't make sense. My Husband touched a curbstone, and got close--he had to re-take. That's cool, but to be hired in November and get your Unit in February? Not cool. (He had to retake because of the missteps, not because he wasn't liked, luckily for him!)
Part of it was the whole Christmas thing and I'm not complaining. I like my Hubby with me at Christmastime. But they kept him waiting entirely too long for his Rig. But then again, if you can pay a man fifty bucks a day to keep him away and working his fanny off for you, you can bet that USA Trucks will leap at the chance. It is cheaper than paying a man full wage and giving him his own Unit.
So finally, he gets his Unit.
It's a fithy, smoker-stink festering pigsty that he has to clean and wrap the seats in plastic before he'll sit in them. Before he pulls it from the lot, he has to take a broom and sweep out the interior of its many wrappers and cigarette butts, old log papers, memos, and other such flotsam before he can stand it. Under the bunk, it was caked with some kind of oil, and smelled like pipe-dope. Seriously, when he bought the Unit home, it smelled like the biggest armpit/foot stink thing, combined with a well-used ashtray. When we cleaned it, spraying the walls with cleaner yielded a brown drip that had all the charm of chaw-spit.
Not only was the Unit filthy, it apparently had mechanical issues. Hell, a simple "B Service" left my Spouse sitting for a couple days. As we all know in the Trucking Industry, "If those tires don't turn, you're not making any money." USA doesn't pay a driver for lay-overs, either. The Optimized Idle didn't work half the time. The engine never seemed to get up to speed. These were all issues that deducted from either pay, or time.
The Unit my Husband got disn't even have any cupboards in it. a single stand, for the telly, and a shelf with no secures for the necessaries. Otherwise, my Husband lived out of tupper-ware and a cooler.
USA constantly lost the reciepts from tolls or other expenses and they require that the driver send in the originals only. You have to find a copier (that is working, and doesn't cost up to a buck a page), make copies of everything, FAX (more expense) this home, and build a file to prove it exists. Who's gonna do that for a ten-dollar toll reciept?
Then there's the pay issues. $2.98 goes to some lawyer you might need, if you get into an accident--'kay. Why then, does he have to pay an additional $200.00 for the representation's fee?
I understand the concept of planning for a rainy day. He did choose to keep the option of having a lawyer. I just don't understand the whole $200.00 fee, in addition to a weekly deduction. Over years, that adds up significantly...especially if you consider the sheer number of truckers employed by a company like USA Truck
And if you're not buying a truck, why do you need an "Escrow" account? Ah, I see, in case they have to come get your truck. I get it. (Even they must reallize they don't pay the driver what he's worth! If not.)
...Then why are they withholding my Husband's pay?
What they don't tell you in the whole orientation process, is that they not only charge you for towing the truck, they charge you something called "Miles". They have some cryptic formula that they won't tell you, they use to figure how much they can jack you for the fuel and "other" expenses for picking up the truck. And don't you assume that Orientation is free. That's right, they're gonna charge you over $180.00 for that, too.
So let's see here...
Thanks to lost faxes, and simply "Lost Inter-Company" paperwork, that's another $50.00, because they lost his log-pages, but they insist he send them YET AGAIN. So he did. We might recover that.
Oh and his "sign on bonus" they promised? He got that, but he got it in two separate disbursements, ninety days apart. And he had to nagg the company to get it. He almost didn't succeed.
They claim he has only one final paycheck; but when he started working there, he didn't get paid until week three. But I'll have to research that some more; I don't want to be misleading.
To date, they say he owes them twenty bucks and change, which they'll take out of his escrow, that they have to return in thirty days of his leaving the company.
Just so we got it straight. Then USA holds onto $500.00 of your hard-earned cash, they don't even give you interest for, so they can withhold your pay and nail you for other expenses in excess of $500.00.
That sound like fair treatment to you?
Last time I checked, we work to get ahead, not scratch by or just barely break even. In my humble opinion, USA was deceptive, then held my Husband's pay for no good reason. They got the truck back cleaner than he got it, and if they would have let him return the truck (like they told him he could), things would have been better. Oh and the "Orientation" recovery? Mr. Redmon O'neill said that since my Husband wasn't on a truck (of his own) exactly six months from his date of having ceased employment with USA Truck, he cannot recover it.
So if you do a total on what they have charged my Husband, he's out $820.32. That's $320.32 more than that escrow amount they'd been holding onto.
Meanwhile, we don't see any money for almost two weeks before the new job kicks in. It'll be tight, but we'll manage. But you can bet USA doesn't have any inclination to expedite matters. They have theirs.
One day, God forgive me, I do hope they get Theirs.
I can only wonder what comfort they offered that other poor soul who got molested by his Driver-Instructor.
So if you're considering switching companies and joining the USA Truck team, well, I hope this report has given you insight on some of the issues you may face in making your choice. They say hindsight's 20/20.
Glass City, Ohio