ABF Pay Scale and Long Term Benefits

Discussion in 'ABF Freight System' started by MikeJ, Oct 4, 2016.

  1. MikeJ

    MikeJ Well-Known Member

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    Hi guys,
    I work for a large (not the largest) but oh will say maybe 4th or 5th largest broad line food service distributor in North America, we are not coast to coast in the USA, but we are pretty much East Coast all the way to St. Louis and then down into Texas so we do almost half the country. Company is based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan was founded in the very late 1800's.

    Anyhow the last 2 decades of the 20th century the company started to grow and branch out of the state of Michigan and reached northern Ohio and since then many other places. Well company is family owned, but the culture has changed some because certain family members are no longer living and others most of the others are more or less trust fund babies and do not really have an actual say or take any real interest in day to day operations of the company. There share holders yes, but there the kids and grand kids and stuff of the original big time owners and there are so many of them that they all can't be involved and truth be told most of them probably have no interest.

    Anyhow one of the companies veteran original drivers from 1988 the year I was born was the year he started at the company told me last night that he has had enough and has seen to much change over the years specifically post 2008 when some key figures kicked the bucket. It's a similar story to Jack Snead in the late 1950's deciding that it was time to move CF ahead and the old Leeland James culture had to go.

    Anyhow 28 year veteran of the company tells me he is moving on and applied and has gotten text messages from and interest from ABF Freight Systems and he said he is ready to go. Well anyhow we talked about the Mortality Rate of Food Service Truckers and this guy told me after 28 years in Food Service 20 of those years in delivery heavy delivery company was barbaric in the late 1980's to work for the weight and everything it's all caught up and he said you know he can feel it.

    Well it got me thinking about my own Mortality and for new guys coming on if there is a position what's ABF's pay like? I know the vacation time is kind of an issue, but pay and health insurance and retirement how does that all work?

    Thank you for reading and I appreciate your responses.
     
  2. ebark63

    ebark63 Member

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    I am a road driver out of Carlisle Pa. Mileage rate is for full rate: .606958, hourly is 24.10. Health care is free no deductible $20 co-pay for routine visits and 30 for specialists. Pension goes by age plus years at job equals your monthly pension. Mine will be at age 65 with 13.5 years $2042 a month. They have a 401k and a roth with no match of course. I have a bid and work 42 to 48 hours a week and average 1680 a week at around 2460 miles a week. Hope this helps, of course there is more info than this but I thought I would start the responses.
     
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  3. canaryinthemine

    canaryinthemine Retirement....The Job I Was Born To Have!

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    I'm a city driver. Like Bro. ebark said, top rate is $24.10 . Once you've made the seniority list, you're one year at 90 per cent until full rate. May be a little while before you make seniority. Freight carriers still haven't adjusted their hiring model to reflect the 21st century, and some managers think they can still attract/keep drivers by playing the casual on-call game.

    All that being said, if you're looking for relief from physical labor, that ain't happening here. We are Freight handlers, and driving is just one of the skills the job requires. In a smaller barn, you'll probably be working inbound dock.......at night.......for a few years before you can hold a daylight bid ..

    As far as work,.....we've seen an increase in private homes and liftgate deliveries. I'm going in early today to offload 15,000 lbs of slate countertops at a college. Each piece has to be flipped onto a cart. Ironically, I wanted the early start so I could make my chiropractor appointment this evening. Most private home deliveries have the homeowner asking you: "Where's your helper?"....... Don't expect any sort of help from the homeowner.........the mere sight of a freight truck pulling up to their house causes a re- inflammation of old back injuries......

    Many's the time this 62 year old man unloaded some 30 year old's weight set or treadmill..,....with no help....while they complained how bad their back was.......and by the way, could you put it upstairs?

    Dept. of Labor lists trucking as the leading occupation for fatalities and injuries. I didn't know they broke it down into categories. I'd be curious to see where LTL freight stands.
     
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  4. ABFer

    ABFer Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Brother canary has given a very accurate description of what P&D work is like here and the trend is getting worse.

    Vacation here is 1 week after two years seniority and 2 weeks after 8 years. 5 sick days per year provided that you are on the seniority list as of Jan 1. Jan 2 seniority date and you'll get no sick days for a year.

    Health insurance is good with low copays everywhere but the pension has issues in different regions. Some funds are in good or good enough shape while several are on the road to bankruptcy. The largest of those being Central States Pension Fund (CSPF) and it covers a large portion of the country. So for the time being pension accrual there is virtually worthless. 401K is available but no company match because they do pay into the pension funds on our behalf.

    Anything else just ask.
     
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  5. MikeJ

    MikeJ Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys, I appreciate the responses.
     
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  6. MikeJ

    MikeJ Well-Known Member

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    I agree I'm a millennial and seriously I hate my generation I'm not saying that I really mean it I hate my generation.
     
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  7. Trailboss

    Trailboss Member

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    I started out hauling swinging beef, there is an art to handling it, but it was still backbreaking work...I noticed that some of the old timers had buffalo humped backs, and after several years, a fifty year old guy had the back ofvan 80 year old....fortunately everything went to boxed beef.

    I then went to CFS (Continental Food Service) later absorbed by Sysco...we had 160 drivers on the roster in SF when I left, and after almost 20 years, I could count on my ywo hands guys that made it to full retirement...jacked up backs, knees, necks, etc...commonly resulted inbearly medical retirement...pulling handtrucks up stairs, down ramps, does a number on your body.

    In 2005 I came to freight, I wish I had done so sooner as grocery companies are notoriously undefunded on pension contributions. I reached my peer 80 last November, so I am looking for the right retirement job now. Doing UE work is sooo much better than city work, and nightime driving doesn't bother me. What was said about P&D work is true, but ABF is really bad about communicating exactly what responsibilities the driver has in regards to deliveries...when I started, I had the foodservice mindset and I was providing services that I didn't (and shouldn't) have done. Glad that I have enough seniority to hold this bid, and glad that I got off the city routes before the longbox liftgates rolled in. Still, if it is unsafe or beyond the capability to get the freight off, professionally appealing to the proper people can prevent you from doing things you shouldn't have to.
    In that regard, freight is a hell of a lot better than foodservice that beats your body down.

    Good advice...never jump from a trailer or a dock...when I was in my early 20's, I would jump from my International cabover to the ground without using the ladder. An old trucker came up to me one day and said "Son, some day you will wish you had never done that, the ladder is there for a reason" from that day forward, I heeded his advice and I am so thankful he took the time to tell me.

    And never use the blade of a handtruck to pull pallets to the back no matter how light...that could get you an early retirement.
     
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  8. Trailboss

    Trailboss Member

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    Sorry for the typos...posted from a cell phone...sucks.
     
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  9. canaryinthemine

    canaryinthemine Retirement....The Job I Was Born To Have!

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    The typos were minor, and certainly didn't detract from a great story...

    You and I are about the same age........the age where we tell everyone we've done everything.......at least in trucking, anyway....

    I'm going to break the cardinal rule here, and admit I never did food service..... except for the occasional day or so off the Union Hall on call list 40 years ago.

    Never slung quarters of beef,... watched them in awe......

    I'll have to give both of you guys credit. Sounds like it is an occupation I'm kind of glad I missed out on.
     
  10. ABFer

    ABFer Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I didn't see no stinkin' typos. I did a four year stint in the Dairy business when I was young, dumb and...more. I was a working fool at the time and didn't mind the 50 hr 3 day work week but I am glad it's behind me. Being an elderly man I look at what those food and beverage guys do and I shudder at the thoughts of what their bodies will be like later on in life, it is obviously a harder job than LTL...but they do get free meals. Who I really feel for is this younger generation who really want to earn an honest living. You know, receive a fair day's pay for a fair day's work? It's not out there much anymore and all I can do is hope for a turn for the better for them. Declining wages (at least vs the cost of living), declining benefits (I guess that today's workers don't need as much healthcare or retirement money as we do). Yet the cost of living keeps right up with the times.

    Good luck on your job hunt and your future there, MikeJ, it looks like you're giving it all you have to give and nobody can ask for more than that (besides a wife).
     
  11. MikeJ

    MikeJ Well-Known Member

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    The guy who decided to come over to ABF had 28 years in 20 of those 28 years were on heavy heavy delivery however things back in the 1980s and 1990s were different there have been changes made none of them for the better. He told me he can fell it when he stands for long periods of time and he figures that was from all the years of lifting. While I don't mind my job or route, for the most part I know there is a mortality rate to it and realistically I could do it 5 more years if I had to, probably longer then that, but might not be necessary and I'm willing to do 5 more years see if I can get an early set transit run which is our line-haul if by that time the warehouse is on 2 shifts, if the warehouse isn't on 2 shifts by that time then I'll have to make a decision.

    We have had guys who have been around for long amounts of time, but in that time they held other jobs that got them off of the truck....kind of....

    It was actually worse in the day if you were an assistant transport manager and someone called off you had to cover there route and then if a night time doubles driver called off you had to cover that run as well and then were expected to show up to work the next day yeah...of course the trade off there was your now an assistant trans manager which means you should be applying for real manager jobs and that would get you out of the rank and file rat race.

    They have all changed that now, but while I could have the option of being a manager I'll be honest 90% of the time that's where people go to sign there own death warrant many will enter few will win.

    I can stick it out at my company for a few years grow my 401k I'm only 28 so I have sometime, and this year I became eligible for company profit sharing and the company does have a 401K match so mine as well use that to my advantage, but yes there is a mortality rate to food service work.

    The advantage in the beginning is you can come in as a brand new driver and where I am it was nice now looking back there was no extra board nothing of that sort I came in they were short staffed and I went to town guy hurt his back and quit others went away and I was on a set of routes right of the rip and I did those routes for a year and they were okay routes I guess although after a while I fell out of love with them and I bid on another set of routes that was better, but my first twelve months with the company I made $74,000 dollars well that actually exceeded my expectations by $14,000.

    Well see I'm working on moving out I live with my parents and I figured why rent when I can own a home. Yes I know a home is a money pit, but there are freedoms you have with a house that you don't have with rental property and I am willing to pay for those freedoms. Well, for a couple years I've been really doing nothing but saving and the time had come where I could move out, but I never bothered to build any credit because I never was in any debt ever.

    So I got stalled out no bank will loan me money until I have some credit built well that bought me another 6-12 months living at home. It's not all bad though because with the job I have now and everything like that, I can probably get a house with a 10-15 year mortgage. Well I was not going to have a 20-30 year mortgage wasn't going to happen, and now with this 6-12 month stall that's just more money to save in my pocket. So it doesn't make sense I guess right now to leave and start at the bottom somewhere else, however once some big bills are paid or under control it may very well be time to reevaluate.

    Like Grocery Companies like Supervalue I would go to they pay very well and they supply grocery stores which isn't a big deal it's just pulling pallets off for the most part, problem is there not around where I live.

    My second choice would be McDonald's suppliers like Martin Brower or whoever sure the first couple years on there round the clock extra board might be rough, but there unloading process is lift gates and pallets or the little carts and they make about $80K a year and there's not as many steps or anything like that. That would be fine, but again the nearest McDonalds supplier moved and now there 60 miles away so that's all kind of not an option.
     
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  12. ABFer

    ABFer Super Moderator Staff Member

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    One other thing to consider, since you are heading towards buying a house, banks like borrowers who have been at 1 job for an extended period of time, the longer the better.
     
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  13. MikeJ

    MikeJ Well-Known Member

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    Well right and that's kind of why I have decided it's better to probably stay put.
     
  14. Trailboss

    Trailboss Member

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    Yeah, when I worked for Sysco, around 2000, they realized that workems comp claims were killing them, so they put liftgates and electric pallet jacks on '35 trailers, and it worked..knees and back injuries showed a dramatic decline.
    I lleft Sysco in 2005, and came to ABF..recently I went to California, saw a former co-worker at Monterey's fishermans wharf...No liftgate, no pallet jack, just a ramp and a handtruck on a '48...the company was wanting to bump it up to '53's with the same set-up..."This job really sucks, they are killing me" siad my fellow co-worker...I told him that he needed to move on before he was sipping soup from a wheelchair and spending the days talking to imaginary friends.

    for the purposes of full disclosure, my last 8 years at Sysco was shuttle driver, hours sucked but it saved my boday from a lot more abuse.
     
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  15. MikeJ

    MikeJ Well-Known Member

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    We use 28' trailers but there floor loaded and can haul plenty there like clown cars LOL! We don't have lift gates just metal ramps and all our freezer comes out of the side.

    I'm hoping that in 5 years I can get on a shuttle run hopefully early set. Our divisions warehouse in Pittsburgh is new and still running one shift, but the day will come when it's on two shifts and they will have an early shuttle set and that's kind of what I am holding out for, but I am not holding my breath.
     
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  16. gravytrain1

    gravytrain1 Member

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    how long does a full time driver at ABF have to wait to get health insurance benefits 30 , 60 or 90 days
     
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  17. Badfish

    Badfish New Member

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    I believe it is 60 days from your first trip but I can't remember if that is correct.
     
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  18. ebark63

    ebark63 Member

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    You have to have x amount of hours during the quarter to get benefits
     
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  19. canaryinthemine

    canaryinthemine Retirement....The Job I Was Born To Have!

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    Each Supplement has its own qualifying time. Ours in W. Penna is 80 hours a month. There are roughly 14 different Supplemental agreements nationwide for ABF.

    Your first problem, however, is to get on the seniority board . Being as how most freight carriers are still of the 20th century mindset, and feel that drivers and their families are to be used and abused........you may be casual/preferred casual/ probationary for a year........or two .......before you get on the seniority list. No benefits for those categories.......

    And yet ....they wonder why there isn't a line outside the door of applicants.

    (.... Don't mention vacations to new hires until we sucker them into getting hired......)
     
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  20. MikeJ

    MikeJ Well-Known Member

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    This year I had 3 weeks of vacation still have 48 hours of sick time and still have 36 hours of vacation left and I've only worked here 1.5 years so I guess I'm doing better on that end. I also had health insurance a lot quicker then 60 days in it was pretty much right off the rip. Now I didn't have to do extra board, but we do have guys at are yard who have had to but that was more do to staffing levels.

    What I don't get is why don't they just hire who they need which is what my work does and maybe a few extra and call it a day? Why these big extra boards with all these confusing rules and I before E except after C stuff?
     

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