Friday, June 29, 2012
Transport Workers Union, Local 208
(Central Ohio Transit Authority AKA COTA)
I am a supporter of Union's that have good leadership. However, I really believe your leadership is boneheaded. After reading what COTA has offered you, there is absolutely no reason there should be a strike. If you go on strike. I do not ride the bus nor have I in years but I know that if your leadership goes through with this, you run the risk of putting thousands of people out of work. We are still economically challenged as a community and striking does nothing but make it worse. What COTA management has offered is not that bad. Pay increases included! All they ask is that you pay a little more towards your retirement... 1% more! As a taxpayer, I do not see that as a bad thing. I'll be damned if I go to the polls and vote for another tax increase if you guys can't compromise and sacrifice just like the rest of us Central Ohioans. I am outraged that the TWU Local 208 would go this route! You are willing to cripple THOUSANDS of people who depend on the bus services for your own pocket. Many of these people had to sacrifice and it's time you do the same. Stop toying with the livelihood of Central Ohioans. This makes me regret voting down SB5. Realize that you doing this is ultimately going cause COTA to put another bill on the ballet. Once it does not pass and people start getting laid off, I hope COTA management starts with the leadership of the Union.
TO COTA Management
I hope you do not cave into the unions demands. I've had to sacrifice. It's time for them to sacrifice. What you are offering is a great package. There is no reason for them not to accept and hang thousand of people in their game. It's so absurd. COTA Management... Keep fighting for central Ohioans. If the i'll advised union decides to strike, most of us will understand that it is not COTA managements fault. Thank You for your time.
Concerned Tax Payer
Sunday, January 1, 2012
Now on to the other things in 2011.
Outside of work, I had a very fun year. In March of 2011, I finally traded my Honda Accord. I bought something cheaper...a 2004 Chevrolet Impala. My reasoning behind it was because I work 5 days out of the week. There was no reason for me to buy an expensive car when all it'll do is sit. Just needed something reliable and so far, it has been very reliable. I did have an issue with it. The transmission blew in it but the car was still under warranty so it was replaced without any hassle.
In April, my brother and I took a mini trip down to Richmond, VA to see one of my best friends...Zhivago. We also visited an amusement park down there called Kings Dominion. In May, I met a guy name Brad. At first, we hit it off really well and then out of the blue he changed and for whatever reason became less interested... and I was okay with that. The month and a half that we did get to spend together was very fun though. He's a very fun guy. Also in May, I lost someone who I considered to be a good friend. We are no longer friends because of two reasons. A) He is the type of person the feels he always have to be in control regardless if you are his friend or partner and B) if he doesn't get his way then he smears your name behind your back. For those of you that know me, you know who I speak of.
June 2011 was a really fun month. Two of my best friends came to Ohio for a visit during Columbus Pride Weekend. We had a blast while they were here. I went to Columbus' black gay club, "Traxx", for the first time. It actually is a pretty fun place. I'm not a big clubber because I don't drink but I do tend to go out during special occasions. Also during that weekend, I was able to hang out with some of my favorite ladies. Jen, Ravon, Emilie, Marie and Terra. They all have definitely made a positive change in my life I a truly love them for it. I also went to Cedar Point that weekend and it included my cousin Kris and my close friend Adam as well as my best friends Zhivago and Jay.
July 2011 during the 4th, I went down to Kentucky for a family reunion. This was the first I had ever attended and I am sorta pissed at that. I found out that I have really good family down there. I've done my best to keep in touch with them as well.
I was on my way home from the movies one night and was witness to one of the most horrific car accidents in my lifetime. Fortunately, I was there to help. I had just hoped on Interstate 270 on the east side of Columbus when a van was traveling the wrong way down the freeway and ran head on into a Ford Taurus. Immediately, I pulled over to help. I'm not am EMT so I really didn't know what I was doing but all I knew was I needed to get the guy in the Ford Taurus out of his car. The van caught fire and it was spreading over to the Taurus. I was able to drag the guy, who I later learned his name is Mark, to safety.
August 2011 I found out that I was being "promoted" to a Training Engineer at work which in other words is a driver trainer. That brought a lot of excitement back to my work. Can't say that I love it but it did bring my sense of accomplishment back. In late August 2011, I took a vacation week. I spent part of the week in New Jersey and the other part in Tennessee. In New Jersey, I was able to visit my friend Gary. He introduced me to this area called Wildwood, NJ. It was such a beautiful place... It was set up like an amusement park but had a very family friendly atmosphere. I enjoyed it there so much that I am taking a vacation there in 2012. The second half of the week, I went down to Tennessee to visit my 2nd cousin, Earl. He has such a beautiful house which includes a built in outdoor pool. I had a great time with the family down. I was also able to drive around and see Nashville for the first time.
September to November 2011... things at work picked up and became very steady. Late September, I went to Green Bay, Wisconsin for my training to become a trainer. That definitely was an interesting week. I had this one situation that occurred where if I handled it the way I initially wanted to, I would have lost my job. This instructor at the training center assumed I was a new hire and pretty much gave me an answer to a question I as in a very rude way. I pretty much bit my lip and walked away and that was a hard thing to do...lol. The students I trained in 2011 all had different personalities. They ranged from me wanting to strangle them to extremely laid back.
I got back into my football and keeping score for Marion Franklin. They had a surprisingly good football squad in 2011. They went 10-0 in the regular season and 3-1 in the playoffs, narrowly losing the state semifinal game to the #1 team in the state, Trotwood-Madison, by 3 points.
In December 2011, I finally was able to meet one of my really close friends, James, who is from Georgia. Let me talk about him really quickly. I am so blessed to have came across a person like him. He has definitely been one of my true friends. He used to work for Schneider National as well but has since moved on to a local company because he wanted to spend more time with his son and girlfriend. James though, is a very good friend and a very loving father. Okay, now getting back on context, I went down to Atlanta, GA to see his former high school, Burke County, compete in the Georgia AAAAA state championship game. They did win. I was also able to see my close friend Brian while down there. It was definitely good to see him. Finally in December 2011, my best friend, Deontre, moved back in with me.
2011 was, for the most part, a very good year. I hope 2012 will live up to what 2011 was...if not better. I already have big plans for this year. Hopefully things will work out in 2012 and it'll turn out to be an extremely great year.
Monday, August 15, 2011
I don't think that I will have as much success as my buddy Brad just because of my job but I am aiming for success this go around. Here are some of the things I had in mind though
1) Dramatically change my eating habits. More fruits and veggies and less meats and sweets. I don't have too much of an issue with the sweets but I love my meat. This will be the most difficult thing to accomplish. I am going to make sure I have my three meals a day but make sure that it's a proper diet. I am going to have to get in the habit to eat every two to three hours small portions of fruit and veggies to increase my metabolism.
2) I am going to have to wean myself away from pop to drinking 100% water. This will be pretty difficult because I have grown so accustom to Mountain Dew... That to me is like coffee to other people. Which brings me to number....
3) Get my proper rest EVERYDAY!! For the most part, I do sleep in between 6 1/2 to 8 hours a day but when I am home, I tend to only rest 4-5 hours a day. That will need to change!
4) Proper Exercise: What I have learned is you cannot diet and not exercise... You cannot exercise and not diet. The two go hand in hand if you want to successfully lose weight. My plan is to at least jog/speed walk no less than 4 1/2 miles at least 3 times a week. I hope to walk twice while at work and at least once while I am at home. I will not limit myself to just three days a week though. It all depends what my work schedule is looking like though.
With those four steps, hopefully I will have success this go around. My goal is to lose 75 pounds in 12 months. Wish me luck!!!
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
2007 and 2008: I started Schneider National at 21 years old. I was assigned to the Walmart dedicated account in Washington Court House, Ohio... where I remain. When I first began, we had a little over 200 drivers and we pulled 90% of the freight. We were always extremely busy. Schneider Washington Court House had the reputation of "the money making Walmart" because we were always able to get a ton of miles. We ran a much larger area. The states I ran primarily in those years were Michigan and West Virginia. More so Michigan than West Virginia. We had a ton of backhauls that we would get as well. In late 2008, the economy took a major dump and Walmarts business was not running like in previous years so they started sending more and more of their own private fleet from their General Merchandise distribution centers to their Grocery distribution centers. Slowly, started losing more and more freight to the Walmart private fleet drivers.
On a personal level, I almost lost my job in 2008 because I still wasn't as mature as I am now. I didn't really know the responsibility it took to keep a job. I slacked big time... my boss noticed it and put me on a 6 month probation. Needless to say, I got my act together!
2009: Walmart did a major overhaul in 2009. It was so major that Schneider National was no longer pulling the dry grocery freight out of the Washington Court House distribution center. Since this happened, Schneider laid off a TON of drivers. We went from about 200 full time drivers to about 75. We had two driver managers and one of them were demoted and eventually quit. From what I understand, we were having a hard time keeping up with the freight we had because we didn't have the drivers to pull the loads. It was a great time for me though because I was making a lot of money.
In late 2009, Schneider National did more restructuring of the company and they ended up firing the Team Manager of the Walmart Washington Court House and Walmart Wintersville operations and putting one guy in charge of the two operating centers. Walmart Wintersville.... I tell you... the operations of that distribution center is a mess. The operations of Schneider there isn't really any better. I feel bad for the drivers that stick with it there sometimes. They have a terrible time keeping drivers there. Personally, I think as big as a company Schneider National is, they need to offer some type of incentive for working that particular DC. I digress though. Going back to 2009, towards the end of the third quarter, we started to get a bunch of help from OTR Schneider National drivers and also, an outside company that Schneider National hired. We made it through that holiday season pretty stable.
2010: In January of 2010, we got word that we were getting back 30 % of the dry grocery freight. That was a good sign to me because that let me know that Walmart was happy with our services. Well what ended up happening was we ended up getting back about 10% of the dry grocery freight. Pretty much, the only dry freight we got back was dry freight that did not include backhauls. When this first began, again we were having trouble with capacity because we still didn't have the drivers to pull the loads. According to my boss, Schneider wasn't letting us hire anyone new onto the Walmart Washington Court House account. Now I don't know what happened but in early March, we finally got new drivers... and a TON of them, too!! I almost immediately felt the impact of it because I all of a sudden was not getting the miles that I used to. The miles that I was getting got so terrible that I considered going to another company. As summer approached, it finally started to balance itself out.
Winter in 2010 was probably one of the worst I have ever experienced. I know 2011 was pretty bad but 2010 had EVERYTHING! Ice... Snow.... Flooding Rain.... Hell, I came the closest to getting into a major accident in 2010. I was leaving the Walmart in Summersville, West Virginia, heading towards the Walmart in Fayetteville, West Virginia. The roads were snow covered but nothing I couldn't handle... or so I thought. I drove south on US 19 for about 3 miles and then out of no where, the wind kicked up and visibility went from to about a mile in front of me to about 2 feet in front of me. I was caught in a dilemma. I wanted to pull over but A) I couldn't see the road and B) if anyone were to run into the back of me while i'm pulled to the side, i'd still be at fault. So it's like a catch 22. You drive and get in an accident... it's your fault. You pull over and get hit... it's your fault. I decided to drive. At first, I could see the guide rail on the side of the road. Then out of no where, it disappeared. I said "okay, then I will follow the rumble strip". Well seeing that this is a road in the State of West Virginia, the road was not particularly straight. I started out following the rumble strip on the right side of the word which for about the first 15 minutes was working out for me. Somewhere along the line, I lost track of the rumble strip because next thing i knew, I looked outside of my driver side window and saw me two seconds away from slipping into the median ditch! I yelled "OH SHIT! OH SHIT" to myself and came to a complete stop... in the middle of the 65 mph highway, lol. I think what saved me from falling into that ditch was the fact that I was driving like 5 mph down the road. Once I got myself calmed down and focused, I continued on. I didn't realize this at first but eventually, I noticed that I had like 20 cars following me... as if I knew where in the hell I was going, LOL. I drove a little farther down the road and someone FINALLY passed me and I was able to follow their tire tracks to Fayetteville. It was definitely a terrifying time but I made it through safely.
So to wrap this blog up....
I have been with Schneider National today for 4 years. In four years, I have 0 tickets.... 0 accidents.... 0 DOT inspection failures.... 0 LOMH... If I can toot my horn for a second (and I will cause it's my blog!), I am a damn great driver. I am the example of what drivers should be! I am a soon to be "Million Mile driver"!!
Happy Anniversary to Me!!
Thursday, August 4, 2011
In early September, I am expecting a promotion. I should become one of new Schneider-Washington Court House training engineers... Which is basically our title for in cab driver trainers. I have been definitely prepping myself for this new experience. The thought of dealing with new drivers can be challenging. Different backgrounds... Different attitudes... Different learning capabilities. This should be interesting but I'm up to the challenge! I'm actually excited because it's something new and I'm moving up in the company. I don't plan on driving trucks my entire life but I will stay with Schneider National (forever) if advancement is a real opportunity.
So I'm going to have to come up with a few ground rules. Here are a few right off the top of my head:
A stinky student makes for an unhappy irritated trainer. I will make time for students to shower daily so utilize the time.
No smoking in the truck. My lungs will thank you.
You will more than likely get upset with me but just know that I'm here to help you succeed. That sometimes means tough love is needed. Just get through it and learn from it.
I'm a very goofy sarcastic funny likable person but we all have our moody days. If I am moody, I will do my very best to not take it out on you (the student) but if you feel I'm out of line, please let me know.
Those are the rules I've came up with that are outside of the Schneider rules. I'll probably come up with a couple more as time goes along. I'll probably blog about a couple of my students as well... Interesting weeks ahead folks. Well I'm going to bed now...
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Roadtrip to Washington, PA
Back in late May, my friend Michael S., invited me to his partners birthday party out in Washington, Pennsylvania. I love taking road trips in my car so I was quick to agree to come. Well the road trip there was an interesting one. I was told it was going to be a pool party. I had to get me some swimming trunks from Meijer which ended up being too small... I almost thought I was going to have to cut myself out of them... It rained it's ass off the whole way from Columbus to Washington, PA. There were a couple times that I almost lost control of my car because I drove through these huge puddles of water that I didn't see in the middle of the interstate. Fortunately once the rain had began, I slowed my speed so I was able to keep control of the Impala... barely. I made it there safely though.
Michael C's birthday party
Before getting to the party, I was told that it people were going to be skinny dipping. It still took me by surprise when I got there and all I saw was ass, boobs and penis'. Did I get naked? Hell no! It was hard enough for me to take my shirt off, let alone taking off my swimming trunks. Besides, I didn't want to put anyone to shame (Yeah, I said it, lol). Even though there was one minor incident between two people, I had a really good time. I met some really cool people and it was nice to hang out with Mike S. and Mikey C. By the way, there were FOUR Michaels at this damn party... I think that must be a popular name out there?
The rest of that weekend
I left Washington, PA on Saturday afternoon and my intention was to head back to Columbus. Somewhere along the line, I talked to my friend, Adam B., which ended up altering my plans. Talking about wasting gas, I drove from Washington, PA to Zanesville, OH to Norwalk, OH. It was cool though... I got to hang out with one of my good friends. We really didn't do much. I got there and we went and rode around Sandusky, OH for a little bit then went back to his apartment and watched some show in VH1. I spent the night there and left for Columbus on Sunday morning. Somewhere along the line, I think the humidity that we had that week got into my phone and screwed it up... It didn't start functioning correctly until Sunday.
Anywho, I got back to Columbus and found out that another one of my good friends, Deontavious D., was in town. Deontavious is from the Atlanta area but he is a truck driver as well. I went and picked him up from his truck and we went down to the Columbus Jazz and Rib Fest that was going on Downtown Columbus. It was so hot down there. My intentions were to tear up some ribs but the heat got the best of me. I think we spent about 30 minutes down there and then left.
Funny thing about the way back to the car...
As we were walking back to the car, we were approached by this guy who does a thing called "Bike Cab". This is a thing that they usually do in the Short North of Columbus but they had them downtown at the rib fest. Anyway, he asked us if we wanted a ride back to my car... I asked him how much does it cost... He said "$5" and I was like "cool". Now listen, I am not a skinny person by FAR... This man had to climb this hill with me and Deontavious in the cab and I thought he was going to have a heart attack, LOL. People were driving by laughing... shouting stuff at him. I felt so bad that I ended up giving him $20.
The Work Week
Last week was a pretty good one EXCEPT FOR THE LAST DAY... I was getting good miles throughtout the week but ended up losing my last load of the week because of a problem with the truck. So the fuel bays here in Washington Court House were not working. They had us go out to Pilot's to fuel... which wasn't an issue for me because I fuel at Pilot's anyway. I get to the Pilot in Nitro, West Virginia and fuel, clean my windshield and get me a bite to eat. Come back out to head to my first stop. Go to release my brakes and they wouldn't release. "Oh Shit" I thought to myself. This happened at 11:40 PM on Thursday night. I call Schneider Emergency Maintenance (SEM) at 11:45 PM. They tell me that I have a bad brake chamber and they would send someone out to fix it. I tell them that I am in a fuel bay with a loaded trailer so please hurry. They tell me okay. I go inside and let the Pilot know what is going on and they say that's okay. 12:30 am on Friday comes and I'm still waiting on a call from SEM to give me an ETA on when whoever they called to service my truck will be there. Finally 12:40 am, I decided to call them. They then tell me that they called the TA Roadside Assistance out of Hurricane, West Virginia (which is only 7 miles from the Pilot) and they had given then a 2 hour eta, putting them at the Pilot around 1:50 am. 1:50 am comes and goes. I call SEM back at 2:15 am and try to find out whats going on. They call me back about 30 minutes later and tell me that they went with someone else because the TA had given them another 2 1/2 hour eta. I called my home office and let them know what was going on and they let me know that they had a driver in my area that could relay my load. I was a little upset because that meant I was losing out on a ton of miles but it was out of my control what was going on.
The driver arrives to the truck around 3:30 am. I was able to drag my truck from under the trailer and get moved far enough to where he was able to get out of the fuel bay safely. I pull over to the side of the Pilot around 3:40 am and about 15 minutes later, I see a redneck looking person in this busted ass van driving around the Pilot. I though to myself "is this SERIOUSLY the service that SEM sent??" ...and it was. This man was so redneck and country. Anywho, he did a quick inspection to see if it were the brake chamber and it turned out that it wasn't. It was the air compressor valve that had went bad. He then said "I can tell you right now that you are going to be here for a little while." I asked him, "how long is a little while?" He said probably until around 9 or 10 am. FUCK! I had taken all of my stuff out of my truck the day before because I typically do that the day prior to me going home so I don't have to do it on my Friday. He then went and took the air compressor valve off and said he would be back in a few hours with the new one. Now who would have guessed that the air compressor ALSO controls the air conditioning in my truck... It instantly because an oven in that damn truck. I got NO sleep whatsoever. 9:45 am, he finally shows back up... but this time, he has his girl friend with him who is just as redneck as him. I don't know what made her think I was such a friendly person because she would not shut the hell up! I didn't want to be rude and tell her to be quiet, even though I was in that kind of mood. 10:30 am, he got the truck fixed for me and I got back to Washington Court House around 1:00 pm for the same problem to happen. I dragged that truck right to that shop and said... "the trucks broken... fix it... I'm leaving" and walked away.
So yeah, that was my adventurous time last week, lol.
Until next time
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Well that's all for now.... I am sleepy and want to go to bed...