Sometimes, in big corporations, getting your needs and demands heard by the management becomes difficult, which is where unions come in. When you have group support behind you, things become easier. This is especially important in demanding jobs.
A truck driver’s job is not easy. They have to travel long distances and often return home weekly, not daily.
To make sure that owner-operators are not left on their own and that drivers are not overworked, union support is needed. Here are some of the best union trucking companies that you can become a part of.
What is Union Trucking Company, and What is its Purpose?
Union trucking companies are those that hire union truck drivers for local driving and less-than-truckload transport (small shipments). This way, drivers get home daily rather than just two days a week.
As a result, these companies often don’t have over-the-road drivers because it requires more time. If you are already a part of a union, they will negotiate your pay and other job benefits for you. If you are not part of a union and apply for a job at a union company, they will usually guide you through the process of joining a union.
Unions are a great way of becoming part of a community that helps your grievances be heard and deliver what you need. It is a documented fact that union workers make 27% more than other workers, according to the US Department of Labor.
How to Become a Union Truck Driver
To join a trucking union, the basic things you need are a high school diploma and a CDL license. Without a CDL license, you cannot drive trucks or trailers. Drivers should also have good physical health because they often need to handle heavy equipment.
Teamster is the biggest trucking union in the US. To become a part of that, you need to have these qualifications.
- High school diploma or more
- A professional truck driving course
- A valid commercial driver’s license
- Good physical health and hand-eye coordination
To join a particular union, check if it covers your company. Then, contact the local office and become a part. For unions affiliated with your company, contact the HR department. Different types of works have different divisions. If you can not join a union or your company does not have one, you can organize one on your own.
You can get the list of companies that hire union members from their local offices. They will give you the forms and explain the process.
Review of the Best Union Trucking Companies
Now that we have established what unions are and how to get into one, here are some of the best union trucking companies.
Who is Ruan Trucking And Logistics?
Ruan is a trucking and logistics company based in Iowa. It was started in 1932 by John Ruan as a grovel hauling company. The Raun family still runs the company, and they now own 100 operations worldwide.
The Ruan family of companies has six separate companies which are:
- Ruan Transportation Management Systems
- Bankers Trust
- Concentric International
- Ruan Truck and Trailer Sales
- Ruan Commercial Auto Leasing
- Ruan Properties
They offer four major services, i.e., dedicated contract transportation, managed transportation, value-added warehousing, and brokerage services.
Companies that own their own fleet often hire a dedicated transportation service. This service tailors everything according to the customer's specific needs and takes care of all labor and equipment.
The managed transportation department offers third-party logistics to a company in need. They manage every aspect of the supply chain, including logistics, consulting, planning, optimization, tendering, execution, audit, business intelligence, and more.
Warehousing is a big part of the transportation industry. Big companies mostly offer this service in addition to driving. Raun also offers warehousing management services, which include loading, unloading, real-time inventory processing, facility identification, export consolidation, and more.
There are five areas in which you can work at Ruan.
- Driver - The company hires CDL-A drivers. They only work in regional areas and usually only work with specific vehicles and are assigned to one customer. The vehicles they use are dry van, flatbed, tanker, hazmat, and refrigerated van.
- Technician - Technicians at Ruan work in the diesel mechanic position. For those without any technical training, the company offers an apprenticeship program of three years.
- Corporate - In the corporate sector, jobs are available for IT, finance, safety, HR, marketing, legal, risk, and sales.
- Warehouse - Warehouse jobs are related to the position of warehouse manager and warehouse worker.
- Operations - The operations sector deals with dispatch coordination and transport management.
Salary and Benefits
The company offers medical, dental, vision, as well as life insurance to its drivers. They also give a 401k plan, paid off days, pre-tax health savings, travel assistance, employee assistance, and short and long-term disability assistance.
The basic pay of the drivers changes according to the city. On average, refrigerated CDL truck drivers can make $1500 a week with a safety and performance bonus of $2600 a year. Flatbed drivers can make $1200 a week, and dry van truck drivers make from $1400 to $1500 a week.
2. YRC Freight
Who is YRC Freight?
YRC Freight focuses on Less-than-Truckload work and provides its services to the North American region. It is a subsidiary of YRC Worldwide Inc., founded in 1924. It focuses on retail, commercial, and industrial goods transportation.
They also transport to Canada and Mexico. They offer standard, accelerated, time-critical, and regional next-day options. They also specialize in transporting hazardous material and temperature-sensitive material. YRC also does air transportation and port-to-port delivery.
The jobs at YRC are available in different departments, including driving, docking, operations, sales/marketing, accounting, IT, and field office.
Jobs for drivers are either local or regional. The driver is responsible for picking up, delivering, and often loading and unloading of material. You can also join a team rather than being a solo driver. Employees that have to travel long distances are given hotel allowances as well to stay overnight.
Dockworkers are hired to load and unload freight from trailers. Meanwhile, field operations and management departments deal with jobs related to office support, administration, and management like operations supervisor, clerk, terminal manager, etc.
Salary and Benefits
YRC drivers mostly get home daily, and those that deliver terminal to terminal are given hotel stay allowance. Other than casual workers (called on need basis), all drivers get 100% medical, dental, and vision insurance. They also offer paid vacation, off days, sick leave, and 401(k). All drivers are offered competitive pays based on the union scale.
3. ABF Freight
Who is ABF Freight?
ABF Freight is a part of ArcBest Company that provides logistics solutions for supply chain problems. The ABF part of the company deals with less-than-truckload transportation. The company is based in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and has a subsidiary by the name of ABF Aviation LLC.
The head company deals with many services like supply chain optimization, premium logistics, truckload, warehousing, and distribution. But ABF deals only with the LTL part. ABF Freight has been in business since 1923. It has won seven ATA presidents trophy for safety and utilizes industry-leading technologies like real-time visibility.
At ABF, you can work as a dock worker or office worker in the corporate sector, become a part of management, or sign up as a driver. There are two types of driver jobs, i.e., city driver and road driver. Road drivers pick and deliver items over long distances while city drivers remain within the vicinity of the distribution center.
You can also work as a part-time or full-time clerk, project engineer, dock worker, supervisor, manager, accountant, or join the company’s driving school.
Salary and Benefits
All drivers are required to have a CDL-A license and are required to pass the DOT drug screening and medical test. Once you are hired, your pay is given according to the Teamster union scale. Employees are given a multi-employer pension fund, life insurance, and health benefits. You also get vacation days, sick leave, 401(k), medical, dental, and vision coverage.
City drivers are also eligible for overtime pay and participate in a profit-sharing program by participating in company stock.
4. New Penn
Who is New Penn?
New Penn is a subsidiary of YRC Worldwide Inc., which started as a cab company and transformed over the years into the freight shipping business. It owns several companies; New Penn is one of those that offers less-than-truckload services. Their fleet consists of 3,000 tractors, trailers, and forklifts.
Its services are focused on North-East America, Canada, and Puerto Rico. The company also takes care of customs at the Canadian border. Among its many types of services are the following:
- Next-Day Shipment
- Volume (for high volume shipments)
- Consolidation & Distribution (cost reduction)
- Freeze Protection
- Chemical & Hazardous Material
- Alcohol Pickup & Delivery
- Retail Service
The various departments that the company hires workers in are:
- Driving - There are two positions for drivers, i.e., regional and local. Regional drivers get home three days a week rather than two, while local drivers get home every day. Since it is an LTL company, there are no big shipments.
- Dock - Dockworkers are responsible for operating forklifts, loading, and unloading crates.
- Mechanics - The mechanic’s job is to maintain the fleet of tractors, trailers, and forklifts. It mostly focuses on working with diesel engines and keeping them in good shape.
- Accounting - Employees in this department maintain financial records from trucks to docks to spreadsheets.
- HR - The department’s work focuses on talent acquisition, employee engagement, compensation plans, and other management tasks.
- IT - This department manages the company's IT infrastructure.
- Office - They deal with managing road safety and other transport details.
- Sales - Their job is building customer relationships and helping determine cost-effective solutions to their problems.
- Weights & Inspection - This department consists of Auditors responsible for reviewing and inspecting shipments.
Salary and Benefits
Other than the basic pay, drivers and dockworkers are offered health insurance that is completely covered by the company. Other benefits include overtime pay, sick leave, vacation days, weekly pay, training, and pension plans.
The average pay for their local divers is $22.68, and for a forklift operator, it is $14.60.
Who is Standard Forwarding?
Standard Forwarding was made in 1934. It currently has 17 terminals in the Midwest and owns 350 tractors and 800 trailers. Their services include LTL, volume shipments, guaranteed expedited, and Canadian Service.
Eight cities in Canada are covered by Standard Forwarding. The complete service package includes customs and tracking. Although the company is an LTL service provider, they do cater to large loads with a special discount.
The drivers for the company are only required to operate trailers and tractors. The materials they transport include things related to engineering, healthcare, technology, energy, chemicals, automobiles, consumer, and public sector.
The company focuses only on the Midwest rather than the whole country, so the routes and timings are much more predictable and easy. The company also hires logistics employees.
Salary and Benefits
The company offers its employees a 401(k), life insurance, paid vacation, and a medical plan. A truck driver in Standard Forwarding can make an average of $20 and $22 an hour.
Over-the-Road drivers have the toughest job, and hence they are offered health insurance after the age of 40.
The company's working environment is very friendly and cooperative. Your talents don't go to waste, and your skillset improves and refines with time.
Who is Reddaway?
Reddaway was founded in 1919 and is currently a part of YRC Regional Transportation. Their fleet consists of 5000 trailers and 1500 trucks. They focus on the Western region of the country.
Their services include regional, inter-regional, cross-border to Canada, specialized, consolidation and distribution, freeze protection, chemical, and residential transportation.
The freeze protection service transports things like food. The specialized services are uniquely designed for every customer's needs.
They also host a PYS or Partnership for Youth Success program with the US army. This gives serving army personnel a chance to train and prepare for life after the army.
For cross-border transportation, they work with federal agencies to ensure the security of the packages.
Reddaway hires either regional or local drivers. As with other companies, regional drivers here get home for two or three days while local drivers enjoy daily off time.
Although it is a union company, it hires non-union workers as well. They also hire clerks, operations managers, mechanics, and dockworkers. If the job is in chemical and hazmat transportation, the driver should be trained in handling sensitive material.
Salary and Benefits
The employee’s pay is based on a union scale, and they are offered competitive industry packages. Other than that, they are offered 100% paid medical for the family as well as themselves. Other common benefits include overtime pay, paid leave, sick days, and retirement plan. The pay and benefits of the office workers vary with their qualifications and post.
Who is HNRY Logistics?
HNRY Logistics is North America’s biggest freight network. It is different from other trucking companies in that it works with other companies and develops a network of resources rather than using their own fleet. Although they do have their own network, the company focuses more on logistics, as the name suggests.
The companies it works with include Holland, New Penn, Reddaway, and YRC Freight. It provides both low truckload and truckload services along with engineered solutions and logistics services.
They help companies manage large loads by dealing with different services and streamlining the network. This way, the customer does not have to worry about getting in touch with all the different companies in all the locations that you have to transport your material to and from.
The company does not directly hire drivers but works with companies that do. Most of the companies that it works with are union companies, so you can easily find a position there.
However, some job openings that you can find here are financial analysts, logistics experts, managers, accountants, customer service, sales, etc.
Salary and Benefits
The pay will vary according to the field and experience of the employee. A sales employee can make around $32k to $35k a year. Employees don’t have to travel as they focus on office work. They also get medical coverage and paid time off. As for drivers, they are hired by other companies that HNRY’s works within their extensive network. Their pay is determined by those respective companies.
Union Truck Drivers Salary and Job Outlook
According to the national average, truck drivers with two to three years of experience make around $60k a year. Although, some cities like Charlotte, NC report $70k plus average pay per year.
In this setup, team drivers earn more than solo drivers as they get a team bonus as well. Union members will generally make 27% more than non-union members, but it depends on the company's representation and location. Union members also get a better chance of having life insurance and more reasonable working hours.
How Much Do Union Truck Drivers Make?
There is no definitive amount that union truck drivers make. The pay can change according to how big the company is, the city in which it is located, and the type of driver you are, i.e., regional, local, or OTR. For example, OTR drivers can make up to $0.58 per mile while regional drivers can make $.055 per mile, but they have better off timings. The general figures for the job are:
Union vs. Nonunion Trucking Companies - Comparison Overview
The major difference between the two is the employee benefits and working conditions. That is not to say that every non-union company has a horrid work environment, but more often than not, it helps to have some representation like in the form of a union.
Working as a commercial truck driver takes up a lot of your time, especially if you are assigned to long routes. This is why many companies looking to hire drives will emphasize how often their drivers get home and prioritize the home-work life balance of their employees.
But even when they are claiming good working hours, it mostly means that you will get to go home for two days a week. This is true for OTR drivers and regional drivers, while drivers that do local transportation will get home every day. This might not be a problem for those who like to stay on the road, but for people with a family, getting home is important, and this is why union companies will not have OTR jobs.
While trucking companies give benefits like 401k, paid vacation days, and fuel discounts, etc., life insurance is generally not on the list. But when you are working such long shifts and especially when you are handling hazardous material, you should have life insurance.
Unions help you get life insurance. How good that insurance is depends on the insurance provider and the employer willing to do its part.
As we have mentioned above, union workers earn more. This is not limited to trucking jobs but to all kinds of industries and jobs. Unions also have an impact on your retirement. A non-union worker has to work many more years to earn enough money to live a stable retired life as compared to union workers.
Getting yourself a good representation is important, and it has become easier in recent years as you see a rise in union culture in America. Employers no longer have a free hand, and there is a regulatory body that can cause effective change.
There are plenty of union trucking companies that you can work for, whether you are switching from an old, unpleasant company or are new to the field. The companies that we have listed are some of the best in this regard.
People Also Ask
Want to learn more about trucking unions and their benefits? Read the following frequently asked questions below.
How Much Experience is Needed to Work at a Union Trucking Company?
The experience needed by union trucking companies is the same that is needed by non-union firms. It essentially depends on the post you are applying for. Many companies have training programs leading to permanent jobs. For that, you need no experience. Otherwise, generally, two to three years of experience is required.
Why Are Large Trucking Companies Non-Union?
Big companies often see unions as a nuisance that makes them lose money and spend time negotiating pay. Many companies would rather not pay extra.
What is the Teamsters Union?
Teamsters or the International Brotherhood of Teamsters is the biggest trucking union in the US. It also operates in Canada.
How Long Do You Have to Work at a Union Trucking Company Before You Are Eligible For a Pension?
The pension eligibility age has been increasing for some time now. Employees now have to work 36 or more years to get a good pension. Union workers, on the other hand, earn a better pension even after 30 years.
Is It Difficult to Get Hired at a Union Trucking Company?
Not every company is affiliated with a union. A very low percent of the overall trucking industry is part of a union. So you have to look harder for jobs, and they might not be hiring all the time. You also have to do some networking to become part of a union.