I hate filming in conferences. Sit downs grabbed in awkward ugly rooms with lousy lighting and booming distracting noises. But, I was willing to overlook all of that for the chance to fly down to Dallas for the Great American Truck Show and learn about the extent of harassment in the trucking industry. I packed up my smallest HiDef camera and signed up for a Press pass. I quickly sat down with Ellen Voie, President & CEO of the Women In Trucking Association (WIT) to talk with her about sexual harassment in the industry. CRST had just won a large class action lawsuit that began with nearly 270 women and was eventually ruled in CRST’s favor based on a technicality.
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Voie suggested I interview Ronald Fletcher who teaches student truckers in a community college in Texas. His past students have told him lots of stories about harassment that are eerily similar to those alleged by Wood and detailed in the CRST case.
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Although Voie may say she’s not sure if there have been cases of sexual harassment that could hold up in court others disagree. One activist who is advocating for women drivers was placed in the national spotlight when DAN RATHER REPORTS highlighted Desiree Wood in last week’s expose about the trucking industry, Queen of The Road. Wood stated that the trucking schools are falling short in training student truckers to drive safely.
On the Women In Trucking website Voie posted a response to the show:
Although it is was one of the most biased representations of the trucking industry I have ever seen…
Great Job Beverly. Your dedication and professionalism to this topic is second to none. It was such a pleasure meeting you at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas
People just do not realize the extent of damage these self centered, uncaring, narcissistic and just plain horrible human beings have on other peoples lives.
We just subscribed to your YouTube videos and I suggest that others to do!
Great Job! We need to get you on the next Blog Talk Radio Show about Bullying in the Workplace. This is a serious problem nationwide, not just limited to the trucking industry.
What makes it dangerous for new trucking trainees is the fact that their abuser can be alone in the truck with them in the middle of nowhere! It can be quite scary for them.
Congratulations on a job well done!
I am Ellen Voie’s brother. I don’t know what impression Ellen made on you, or what you wish to do, but I think you are missing Ellen’s goal to help start a forum for women drivers to speak out against abuses and to join together in a network that helps the profession. The Dan Rather expose’ doesn’t tell the whole story about the women who do feel well trained and equipped to drive semi’s. I hope you will interview those who are happy in their profession as well as those who feel they have been harmed and harrassed.
Thank you so much for responding and since I’d really like to take the time and care to respond to it fully I’ve addressed it in a new blog post.
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Hey, Ellen’s brother, let’s agree there are women out there that are happy in their profession. Okay, let’s move on and help the ones that are not only unhappy in their profession, but getting harassed and bullied and worse.
I’m just guessing, but since the title of this site is BullyintheWorkplace, that’s where they should spend their time.
Ellen and her group have now become irrelevant.
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I’ve been a driver for 12 years. I’ve trained drivers – almost exclusively female students for 3 years. I have been through it all with the abuse. My trainer did as little training as he could, and just used me for an extra log book. He didn’t make any sexual advances toward me, but I was unprepared for the work I was expected to be able to do when the training was over.
After I was on my own, solo driving, I resisted driving in unsafe conditions, and was severely punished for it. My miles were cut to shreds, dispatchers were rude and demeaning to me, they engaged other drivers to participate in activities to humiliate me, and they deliberately gave me unsafe equipment to pull. When I finally left the company, I received a derogatory remark on my DAC, and I am to this day, ineligible for rehire. That was 12 years ago, and although I never had an accident or so much as a ticket while employed there, they have refused my application several times since.
I was placed with a codriver who did directly abuse me, emotionally and sexually. He would scream obscenities at me while I was driving, because he didn’t like the temperature in the truck, or he didn’t want me to pass another car. I couldn’t make a phone call that he wasn’t there listening. I couldn’t go to the bathroom without him escorting me. I was essentially, his prisoner. I got off his truck when we visited my home, and he was provoking my daughter to violence so he could hit her.
I’ve had companies try to starve me, give me loads that were impossible to do with my hours, I’ve had dispatchers refuse to route me home for a family crisis (my mother was dying), and then write me up for refusing to drive in unsafe conditions. I had one dispatcher tell me she thought I was “too old” to do my job. The next dispatcher told me I had to drive when it was unsafe – he forced me. I’ve had dispatchers who used every psychological tool in their arsenal to wear me down, to harrass, to intimidate me, and force me to do that which was either unsafe or illegal, or both. My latest fleet manager told me she thought I should lie on my log book so I’d have new hours to pick up a load that was clearly outside of my legal workday hours. I said basically, Thanks, but no thanks.
All of this has taken a toll on my health. I am now at home because the stress of having to maintain my position for safety, of having to defend my sleep time, and having it always interrupted, has driven my blood pressure sky high. I was sent home 2000 miles with only that which I could carry. The company denied my short term disability, and I couldn’t pay the shipping on the rest of my belongings. The company discarded all my stuff. All my tools, clothes, equipment, some very personal and irreplaceable stuff like gifts from my family, all gone.
I am a broken driver. I got run over by the companies who failed to protect their employee.
Patricia that is a very common story in the trucking industry as I’m sure you well know. Sorry you had to experience it firsthand.
@MS. Voie I’m sorry I just don’t get the ‘Advocate for Women in Trucking’ vibe from you. I believe the first response was how you truly feel about the issue and your written response was just a back peddle. The thing is you obviously knew immediately your response was wrong as you had your brother back peddle for you first.
If you would like to change the timber of the organization to ACTUALLY Advocate a woman in the trucking industry I may send my money your way but the way I see it you advocate for the Trucking companies and agree with the hype they have shoved down our (women in trucking)throats for years. So until you can come clean with us I personally will not sponsor your organization, however I challenge you to prove me wrong. If you truly are here to help us show us.
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im a 22 year old 5’2 125 lb female. im interested in obtaining my cdl. i can drive truck im just not licensed. im currently planning on joining crst next month. i like that they offer the training already paid. what i do not like though is all the bad reports about them and that u must drive as a team. does anyone know if i could get the option to drive solo after training with them and/ or does anyone know any other trucking company that offers paid training and a job?