Truck drivers deserve respect: Swift Transportation

By: Brad Gardner


Swift founder highlights need for drivers to receive better treatment, but says industry has a long way to go.

Truck drivers deserve respect: Swift Transportation
Swift Transportation says the trucking industry has work to do when it comes to the treatment of truck drivers.

 

One of the largest trucking companies in the US is pushing for truck drivers to receive greater respect for the job they do.

Swift Transportation has highlighted the need for the trucking industry to improve its treatment of the men and women hauling freight on the nation's roads, including doing more than just raising wages.

Swift has increased remuneration for employee and contractor drivers to improve retention rates, but Swift founder and CEO Jerry Moyes and president Richard Stocking have flagged the importance of non-pay related initiatives.

"I believe we are moving higher in the ranks of pay scale. But it is not just about the pay…These people deserve respect on the road and at our customer locations, in addition to having a great experience at our terminals," Moyes says.

"In some of these areas we as an industry have a long way to go. We want to really focus on respect and treatment, the predictability in the home time and the paychecks for our drivers."

Stocking says Swift is committed to improving the lives of its truck drivers to reduce turnover rates and that includes continually listening to their concerns.

"Our driver turnover is down year over year. We have many initiatives in place to deliver a better life to our drivers, and those initiatives are helping to retain our drivers," he says.

"We are not there yet, and although our turnover has improved year over year, we are not where we want to be. We have many more things to do and many other non-pay related items that we will be rolling out very soon."

While Swift has managed to increase its recruitment and retention rates, the company has not been immune from the driver shortages afflicting the US trucking industry.

"It’s still very difficult to attract and retain qualified drivers," Moyes says.

"As many of our competitors discussed, recent industry data has shown that the turnover in large fleets such as ourselves has improved, but the turnover in smaller fleets, and the industry as a whole, is still very challenged."

Swift made the decision last year to put more effort into recruitment and retention to address driver shortages.

Part of that effort included increasing driver wages and owner-driver rates – a move that delivered quick results.

Swift decided to increase remuneration again, with the latest round taking effect on May 1.

Swift is seeking rate increases from its customers to offset the impact of the pay rises, and it believes the tight labour market will help its case.

"With regard to our confidence in the range and the ability to pass on the driver [pay] increases…we believe there is still tightness in the market and our customers are still concerned about capacity," Swift executive vice president Ginnie Henkels says.

"They need quality carriers such as Swift to meet their needs. Therefore, we are still expecting to work with our customers to achieve the required rate increases necessary to provide the drivers with the pay they deserve."

 

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