September 2013

Overdrive Magazine | Trucking Business News & Owner Operator Info

Issue link: http://read.dmtmag.com/i/165354

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Page 9 of 109

Voices Sometimes a little push-back on fees works — "You gonna bribe someone to get us unloaded?" — "You have no idea how close you are to being right." To lump or not to lump … The first time I experienced a lumper fee was in Denver at the Safeway warehouse. Safeway posted at No. 63 on the Forbes 500 list last year, with a total profit of somewhere north of $43 million. That's profit, not revenue. Not one red cent of that money would have been generated without truckers, and yet they're treated with utter disrespect and blatant contempt at the company's warehouses. How is this OK? George came back to the truck after going inside to establish paperwork, and instead of getting in to wait for an unload, he grabbed a Comdata check. "What's up? You gonna bribe someone to get us unloaded?" "You have no idea how close you are to being right." "Yikes. That's the growly face. Who's getting ready to be beat down by the trucker?" "It's very much the other way around." "What the hell, Parker? What's " Wendy Parker chronicles her journey on the road with her owner-operator husband, George, in the George and Wendy Show blog on OverdriveOnline.com. Scan the QR to read more from her on your phone or tablet. up? I've never seen you so mad about freight." "It's best I don't tell you right now, because you'll make a scene, and it'll just take longer to get away from here." "I promise I won't make a scene." "You'll make a scene. There's no doubt." "I have to pee really bad. I probably won't make a scene." "We have to pay a $215 lumper fee to get this trailer unloaded." "I'm probably going to make a scene. And wet my pants." Forcing a carrier or operator to pay for an unload without compensation or reimbursement is illegal under Title 49 of the U.S. Code, § 4103, on the loading and unloading of motor vehicles. If receiver assistance unloading is required, the shipper or receiver must compensate and/or assist vehicle operators/owners. Still, the regulation is commonly ignored. Owner-operators responded to Wendy Parker's lumper fee tale by sharing how they deal with the problem. Chris Harkins: Lumpers are the sole reason I do not ever haul anything that you might find in a grocery store! Craig Vecellio: Normally, I pull a flatbed, and lumpers are among the reasons. One time when flat freight was low, I got put on a dry van delivering to a grocery warehouse in Jersey. When I got there … four of them [were] sitting at a table playing cards, and they wanted me to wait 15 hours to unload. "Where's the pallet jack?" I said. "I'll do it." They said, "No, no, no, this is a Teamsters shop, you can't do that!" I started pulling boxes off the pallets by hand. I got unloaded. Jon McLaughlin: I just tell them that I did not just show up with this load and ask them if they wanted it. That somebody for the company ordered it and that I will not pay to have their order unloaded. If they want it, they will unload it. … That has worked several times. Or I call the load broker and tell them that it is their responsibility and that I was not paid enough for this. Now when I go to load, I check what the commodity is and ask if a lumper fee is involved. If so, I decline the load. If you like good, mostly local, and very affordable food, you'll be happy at a French truck stop. — French truck stop owner Daniel Bourscheidt, quoted " in an Oregonian story about a road trip across France, and his sentiment likewise applies to fine French wine. 8 | Overdrive | September 2013 Voices_0913.indd 8 8/27/13 8:56 PM

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