Tuesday, July 24, 2012

When The Juice Ain't Worth the Squeeze, The Rise Of Labor Unions

Trucking jobs that people refuse to take?

Once in awhile, I see a mainstream news article where the author takes a look at a subject that seemingly doesn't make sense. That happened today. With "gobs" of trucking jobs- and millions unemployed- how come the trucking industry has so many openings and high employee turnover?

Because trucking sucks. At 38k a year, the juice ain't worth the squeeze.

Long haul truckers are confined to a small space, eat and shower at truck stops, are on the road with no real breaks away from the truck, sitting for hours and hours on end. They are dirty. Eating healthy is not possible. Having any kind of committed home life is not possible. On top of all of that you have breakdowns, cops, loneliness and boredom, fines and weigh stations, nasty ass weather, deadlines, regulation and fees. 

All that for 19 or 20 bucks an hour. 

The harsh reality here is that employers in this industry and government have conspired to make a tough job- un desirable. You simply cannot pay somebody chump change, tie them to the long hours, crappy conditions, and then steal 30% of their income- in local, state, and federal taxes.  

So what happens is that desperate and uneducated folks spend a bunch of money to become truckers- get a taste of the reality of trucking- and then get the hell out. But the trucking companies, hoping to exploit a giant labor pool, continue to offer ridiculously low wages given the working conditions and the tremendous amount of time you are actually tied to that truck. And trust me...the working conditions ARE EVERYTHING when it comes to trucking. 

In the bakken oil field- they are paying water truck drivers 70 k a year. Sure. And working you 80 hours a week...which again works out to 18 bucks an hour, no housing, a flat landscape with cold, long, and boring winters. A voracious government trying to steal half your check (overtime gets taxed at the highest rates) and greedy oil companies trying to find ways to reduce employee related overhead.

Exploiting labor is the job of corporations always bent on improving margins. Stealing your work product is the job of government. Eventually people are forced to shrug and walk away. That is a sad state of affairs but that's the reality right now. I wouldn't be a long haul trucker for a dime less than 80k a year. And my actual time tied to that truck could not exceed 80 hours a week. 

It's a shame that labor union have such a horrible history and reputation. When battling crony capitalism where business and government interests have teamed up to exploit laborers- there simply is no way to level that playing field. Individual workers don't stand a chance. If it continues the way that it has- and I see no stopping it- unions may re-emerge. Nothing illustrates that need better than the conditions in the trucking industry right now. 


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the labor union leadership has become full fledged card carrying communists intent on destroying capitalism and liberty the world over. Research Leo Gerard and what he is doing and the power that he has. Look at Trumpka and his exploits.