Driver-driven compensation

Tasked with blending two compensation packages, Contract Freighters, Inc. (CFI), a Con-way company, made the most of the challenge and went directly to its drivers querying them on which features and benefits would pack the most punch. According to the Joplin, MO-based international truckload carrier, it designed the unified compensation plan it announced this week to maintain the best elements of

Tasked with blending two compensation packages, Contract Freighters, Inc. (CFI), a Con-way company, made the most of the challenge and went directly to its drivers — querying them on which features and benefits would pack the most punch.

According to the Joplin, MO-based international truckload carrier, it designed the unified compensation plan it announced this week to maintain the best elements of existing CFI and Con-way Truckload offerings after Con-way's July 2007 acquisition of CFI. The new pay package went into effect Jan. 1, the same date the CFI name was retired. The operation is now known solely as Con-way Truckload.

“Our new, combined compensation package was designed from behind the wheel — not from behind the desk — to be one of the best and most competitive in the industry,” said Herb Schmidt, CFI president. “We're proud to be able to offer our drivers an improved compensation package and several other amenities despite the challenging economic conditions facing our industry.”

Schmidt said the blended package offers “many driver favorites” including:

  • Pay raise. Pay for all drivers will increase by $.01 per mile across the board.

  • Enhanced military pay.

  • Weekly pay schedule.

  • Raise in student pay.

  • Health savings accounts.

  • Roomier, more comfortable trucks.

  • Increased HazMat endorsement.

  • Increased stop pay.

  • Detention pay.

  • Canada routes optional.

  • Ability to bank days. Drivers will have the opportunity to accumulate days off during extended periods on the road for later use.

“I'm grateful to the 750 drivers who helped us craft this package,” said Scmidt, who noted the combined operation employs over 3,000 drivers. “Our goal was to offer a package that was superior to the compensation package our professional drivers enjoy today and we clearly met that goal.”

Schmidt told FleetOwner at least two surprises came from having senior managers survey drivers at meetings about their likes and dislikes. “We've always run premium equipment but did not realize how much the extra room of a larger sleeper meant to solo as well as team drivers,” he said. “Despite the higher cost to buy, maintain and fuel larger trucks, we're biting the bullet and buying them.” Schmidt said drivers indicated they could accept a little less pay if they knew they could work “with extra elbow room, day and night” in extended sleepers. “This is not something we'd have done if I scripted this from behind a desk,” he stated.

Schmidt also said drivers' displeasure about mandatory Canadian runs was also surprising. “It's one thing to drive your car into Canada-the language is the same, the roads look the same and there are no documents. We simply did not realize the paperwork burden on our drivers to cross so we're making those dispatches optional. There may be a cost to us to run ‘turn trucks,’ but we can make it work for both our customers and our drivers.”

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