Logging haulers seeking new options

I just can’t win. Might over right. Guilty by association. Just three of many expressions in common use today, when talk centres on, or about, we Big Rig drivers.

They’re even telling jokes on the Internet about us, too. Is that progress?

Did you hear this one?

Researchers at BCIT found over 200 dead crows near Boundary Road recently, and there was a lot of concern expressed that these birds may have died from avian flu.

A bird pathologist examined the remains of every single one of the crows, and to everyone’s relief, confirmed the problem was definitely NOT avian flu.

The cause of death appeared to be vehicular impacts.

However, during the very detailed analysis, it was noted that varying colours of paints appeared on the birds’ beaks and also on their claws. By analyzing these paint residues, it was determined that 98 per cent of the crows had been killed by impact with Big Rigs, while only two per cent were killed by an impact with a four-wheeled vehicle.

BCIT hired an ornithological behaviourist to determine if there was a cause for the disproportionate percentages of trucks versus car/SUV/pickup kills.

The ornithological behaviourist very quickly concluded the exact cause of death.

He stated: When crows eat road kill, they always have a lookout crow in a nearby tree to warn of impending danger. They discovered that while all the lookout crows could shout “caw,” not a single once could shout “truck.”

Don’t groan. You know you are smiling.

Admit it. It’s nice to pick up your morning paper and read something that made you smile instead of reading all the doom and gloom that we think we require to go along with our morning wake-up hit of java?

What made me smile the other morning was when a buddy, who drives a logging truck, told me of an incident, (no, not another crow joke), about how he and many of his fellow drivers are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. He stole that line from the movie Network.

You see, many logging truck drivers used to work exclusively for one particular mill. The bosses at that particular mill would tell the drivers, “this is the rate, and if you don’t like it, you can leave.”

They’d tell the drivers they worked out the rate by a special formula. Never would explain said “formula” and the drivers would go to work, but never seemed to be making any more money.
As with the rest of the Big Rig industry, costs of operating a rig keeps going up, while the pay rates seem to be holding steady at 2005 rates or worse.

Container haulers simply stopped working until the negotiation table was covered with promises of the sun, the moon and the stars if they’d return to work. Logging truck drivers are so much smarter.

When many logging drivers are given the special mill formula rate, they walk.

Why? Because they have learned how to diversify.

Instead of selling their soul to one particular mill, many are now using their rigs to haul logs, but from a different source. They are helping with road construction, hauling away the logs as the new road is built. Hauling logs away from a site where a new construction camp is being built.

When the boss of the construction site, or the head of the road-building site is asked where he wants the logs taken, he usually throws his arms in the air and says, he doesn’t care. It’s all junk to him. So it ends up at a mill, and the driver sets the rate. A real businessman whose office is the cab of a big rig.

I love a story with a nice, happy ending, don’t you? Makes me wish I was driving a logging truck instead of hauling cans.

I could fill a news­paper with sto­ries about life on the road, but why not share yours with read­ers? Send them to Driving edi­tor An­drew McCredie at [email protected]

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