August 10, 2023

Are tech bros lining up to take your $170K trucking salary?


Welcome to the WHAT THE TRUCK?!? Newsletter presented by AIT. In this issue, tech bros eyeball UPS pay; trucks are stalked with AirTags; a totaled Tesla turns up in Ukraine; and the Postal Service loses big.

Are tech bros lining up to take your $170K trucking salary?


Pay scale UPS drivers will be seeing a salary increase if the union signs off on the latest proposal, but it’s got some tech bros feeling poor. Business Insider reports, “The average UPS driver could get six-figure pay under a new contract, and tech workers have mixed feelings about it.”

“This is disappointing, how is [it] possible that a driver makes much more than [the] average Engineer in R&D? … The engineers that created that truck he drives are more important because the impact to society is higher, including providing a tool for work.” a worker at the autonomous trucking company TuSimple


I’m not sure what truck that worker is referencing as TuSimple said in June that it is leaving the U.S. market, so I’m at a loss as to why he’d think his truck had any impact on anything. But is the UPS contract as great as it is cracked up to be?

$172K — The UPS website claims: “Our long-haul team drivers average $172,000 per year in total compensation. UPS pays $0.95 per mile after four years, nearly double the trucking industry average.” But what does that really mean?


It’s still nothing to snub your nose at, but what’s been lost in the headlines is the road to achieving that salary. Ninety percent of UPS part-timers turn over in the first year. If you make it through the probation period and eventually become a Teamster, you then have to make it another four years before you reach that advertised salary.

You think you need a cold plunge now? Just wait until you see how your body feels after four years of lifting packages. 

Perhaps you think another trucking company may be easier? Sorry, interlopers in our world, but the average truck driver pay in the U.S. is not $170,000, nor is it $150,000. It is $62,483.

Trucks getting AirTagged?


Track and trace — While Apple AirTags have always presented security and privacy concerns, we haven’t heard many reports of them being used by thieves to track a semi. On Tuesday, Redditor Jayss601 posted, “Stopped my truck to buy food yesterday and someone put an AirTag inside my trailer. Has this happened to anyone before?”

Turns out, it’s a growing issue and this driver isn’t alone.

Cheese4Every1 replied, “Yeah. Towards the holidays when I have the holy drinks on my truck. I found like 4 hanging off the bottom last year and someone picked up a few more from some other trucks of ours.”

Kprevenew93 said, “They sure have, it’s a pretty good way to find you and rob you later on when they have more people with them. Stay safe OP.”

DepartureFluffy3570 added, “Yes! Picked them a load of high end lawn mowers on the east coast! Stopped for fuel in Columbus, Ohio and looked up to see an air tag on the front of my trailer! Called my boss and explained what I found and stuck the tag to the fuel pump and split!”

Protecting yourself How do you know you’re being tracked by an AirTag? If you have an iPhone, it should be easy. Your phone will ping you if it detects an AirTag that isn’t registered to you. Once discovered you can have your phone make it play a sound, which will help you locate it. Once you find it, destroy or turn it over to the cops.

However, if you have an Android, you’re on your own. Be vigilant! 

The totaled Tesla supply chain


Number of the week


Undelivered goals — Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s prediction that the Postal Service would break even this year has gone south. Back in November of last year, Government Executive reported, “Postmaster General Louis DeJoy conceded he will not meet his goal of breaking even by fiscal 2023. Instead, the agency forecasted a more than $4 billion loss next year.” 

But, that isn’t where the wrong predictions end. Now the agency is forecast to lose $5.2 billion. 

Reuters reports, “The cash-strapped agency warned on Thursday that without help from the U.S. Congress it will face low cash and be unable to borrow money this fall.”

WTT Friday

Truth and lies in autonomy, NASCAR’s trucker appreciation and fuel economics On Friday’s episode of WHAT THE TRUCK?!?, I’m talking to The Road to Autonomy’s Grayson Brulte about the good, bad and ugly in autonomous vehicles.

Relay Payments partners with NASCAR on driver appreciation week at its Haul of Fame. David Barak gets us up to speed on the sponsorship and tells us why Relay Payments is honoring drivers a quarter mile at a time.

Wholesale diesel prices are up 27% from their one-year lows back in June of this year, so we’re finding out how Hell Bent Xpress’ Jamie Hagen is staying above water by being smart with fuel. He’ll give us a crash course in being an owner-operator, managing fuel and knowing your costs.

Fires in Maui have already caused devastating losses, including more than 35 human lives. SeaWide Express’ Monica Thornton lets us know what’s going on over on the islands, how it is impacting freight and if any relief is being organized. 

Plus, news, weirdness and much more.  

Catch new shows live at noon ET Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on FreightWaves LinkedIn, Facebook or YouTube, or on demand by looking up WHAT THE TRUCK?!? on your favorite podcast player.

Now on demand

Owner-operators feeling rate sting; trucking in Alaska; and how TSA air cargo security works

Delivery robots vs. Hollywood; Yellow makes it official; and 3PLs get scrappy

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Don’t be a stranger,



The second annual F3: Future of Freight Festival will be held in Chattanooga, “The Scenic City,” this November. F3 combines innovation and entertainment — featuring live demos, industry experts discussing freight market trends for 2024, afternoon networking events, and Grammy Award-winning musicians performing in the evenings amidst the cool Appalachian fall weather.

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