Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Freight truck drivers face contracts, lower wages for on-the-job CDL training

Via the New York Times, this story: 

Each year, thousands of aspiring truck drivers sign up for training with some of the nation’s biggest freight haulers. But the training programs often fail to deliver the compensation and working conditions they promise. And drivers who quit early can be pursued by debt collectors and blacklisted by other companies in the industry, making it difficult for them to find a new job.

At least 18 companies, employing tens of thousands of drivers, run programs aimed at qualifying trainees for a commercial driver’s license, or C.D.L. Typically, to get free training, the new hires must drive for the company for six months to about two years, usually starting at a reduced wage.

Also, a comment on truck driver salaries: 

In job advertisements and in their pitches to recruits, companies promise earnings of up to $70,000 in the first year and even higher salaries in the future. But the median annual wage for all truck drivers, regardless of experience, was $47,000 in May 2020, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Only the top 10 percent of earners were making above $69,500.

I'm saddened but not surprised to learn that truck driver training isn't very good - to learn that they're charged for this training is awfully disappointing, though. (I don't think that chemists face this sort of thing, although there is the classic "are postdocs about training or not" debate...)


  1. Disappointing for sure, but you don't need a degree to get a CDL. First job I had with my MS degree started near that median truck driving wage about a decade ago. I make a lot more now, but I can't say with confidence that I needed six years of post-secondary school education to get there. In hindsight, if I were to streamline my education from HS to first job I could cut the time in half.

    The 4 year university degree is like the worst cable tv package imaginable. Astronomically overpriced, and forced to bundle a lot of useless stuff in there too.

    1. At least in chemistry, the stuff you learn in college is relevant at work. I still don't understand why four years of doing kegstands and puking makes someone more qualified for a cubicle-farm job. I strongly suspect the real reason is to filter applicants by social class.

    2. My guess is talent oversupply (if college degree holders are competing jobs with high schoolers at the same wage level - why not) and having a degree vs not is quite easy to quantify a person's qualifications?

      I can confidently say my 4 years of college was quite wasted except the part-time work in a lab to make me qualified to work more in grad school.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20