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Michael Lewis
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PostFri Feb 08, 2019 3:54 pm 
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I work for BBW Holdings as a delivery driver. We outsource Amazon delivery from their distribution warehouse in Everett. Our fleet is mainly GMC Savanna Cargo vans. I noticed there is a major snow storm coming in tonight and I have the weekend shift. I asked dispatch if they would provide chains for tomorrow and they said they did not. I know from the snow last weekend that they will not cover expenses from towing as two of our vans crashed and got stuck. Going slow is officially required and unofficially deems a performance review. Dispatch was unsympathetic that I was taking longer to deliver hundreds of stops in the snow rant.gif

Worried about tomorrow I called OSHA for advice and they said to relay any safety concerns such as slick roads to dispatch when I notice them. WA state law does not protect commercial vehicles under 10,000 lbs with rules for chains so OSHA cannot offer help. I was also advised by OSHA not to supply my own chains. Personally, I don't have any experience driving in the snow with a RWD vehicle and I'm worried about getting into an accident and hurting others. If snow is bad tomorrow, I'm considering calling in unable to get to work. What advice do you guys have?
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Jeff
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Location: Someone get me out of Everett, WA
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PostFri Feb 08, 2019 4:03 pm 
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Everyone's situation is different, but that would be an easy dilemma for me. Never risk your health or property (or other people on the road!) for your employer. If they don't provide training or equipment for these conditions then that is on them.
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Anne Elk
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PostFri Feb 08, 2019 4:36 pm 
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Is dispatch your only interface with the company?  I'd try to find out - say via HR  or the website - if there's a company policy in place for winter hazard conditions.  You can do the best you can - avoid residential streets with obvious steep hills that don't get plowed.  You might actually have an advantage being out tomorrow as the major arterials will be de-iced and/or plowed, and few people will be driving.  I don't know why OSHA would tell you not to put on your own chains.  I would do it, if you plan to drive.  You can probably find a lot of how-to videos on Youtube for driving in snow.  If the temps stay moderate, there won't be much icing - which is more dangerous than snow.  You could always call in and say you can't get there b/c you live on a hill and your car can't make it off your street - would that be worse than calling in "sick"?   It seems kinda crazy, given that here in Seattle, the Monday trash collecting subcontractors totally wimped out.  Good time to review your employment contract, maybe??

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"There are yahoos out there.  Itís why we canít have nice things."  - Tom Mahood
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Waterman
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PostFri Feb 08, 2019 4:43 pm 
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Throw a bag of kitty litter in the rig for traction in icy spots. It will get you going.

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Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost
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Chief Joseph
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PostFri Feb 08, 2019 5:23 pm 
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I would respectfully tell them that your safety, the safety of others, and of your vehicle is a priority during bad road conditions, and that during that time delivery quotas will have to take a back seat. Or just say nothing and continue to drive slowly and safely as you have been. If it's working for you, don't change it. Employers many times have blinders and only focus on the end goal, and don't quite "get it" since they are not the ones out driving in it.  stuck.gif

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Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
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Anne Elk
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PostFri Feb 08, 2019 5:39 pm 
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^^^ What Chief Joseph said.  Hard to believe a delivery company wouldn't have policies in place for weather hazards, not have chains to give out, and "not pay" for tows in the event of an accident.  Maybe time to look for a higher quality delivery co to work for?

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"There are yahoos out there.  Itís why we canít have nice things."  - Tom Mahood
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moonspots
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PostFri Feb 08, 2019 6:16 pm 
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Jeff wrote:
Never risk your health or property (or other people on the road!) for your employer. If they don't provide training or equipment for these conditions then that is on them.

This! And go find another employer, ASAP.

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"Out, OUT you demons of Stupidity"! - St Dogbert, patron Saint of Technology
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Brushwork
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PostFri Feb 08, 2019 7:01 pm 
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Agree strongly with Jeff, Chief Joseph and Moonspots!   No employer should be forcing you to drive in bad conditions...and particularly if they won't supply chains.

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When I grow up I wanna play.
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monorail
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PostFri Feb 08, 2019 7:57 pm 
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Michael Lewis wrote:
I know from the snow last weekend that they will not cover expenses from towing as two of our vans crashed and got stuck. Going slow is officially required and unofficially deems a performance review. Dispatch was unsympathetic that I was taking longer to deliver hundreds of stops in the snow rant.gif

So, are you saying that the driver has to pay the cost of towing?! And they refuse to supply chains, and insist you go full speed in a blizzard?! This is completely insane.

I'm guessing BBW has deemed you an "independent contractor," i.e. 1099. So they don't have to worry about your taxes or insurance, and they can glibly send you out in dangerous conditions with ludicrous expectations...   and when you get yourself or someone else killed, they can say, "It's not on us; he was an independent contractor." 

I'm not a lawyer, but I believe this is a serious misuse of "independent contractor" status. According to the IRS, if they dictate how and when you do the work, you are an employee. It seems to me that quite a lot of 1099 "gig economy" jobs are in violation.  Employers seem to think they can tell workers when to show up, how to do the work, and when to finish...  but by waving the 1099 magic wand they can disregard labor law, insurance, taxes, and liability. This is the Amazon way, and it is a load of $#*t.

My advice is to tell them to shove off, then report them to the IRS: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/independent-contractor-self-employed-or-employee
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contour5
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PostFri Feb 08, 2019 9:01 pm 
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Thanks to full spectrum regulatory capture, we now enjoy a "health and safety" administration which discourages safety precautions in favor of squeezing out higher numbers and reduced liability for the "job creators". I'm surprised we haven't defenestrated the corporate welfare sucking self-entitled thieving scumbags who are doing this to us, but there are still windows, and time.

Don't sacrifice life or limbs for a paycheck. There's a wide spectrum of employment opportunities in nearly every industry. Some companies are evil and need to die. Others treat their employees decently. Might be you ought to move on...
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Hesman
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PostFri Feb 08, 2019 10:07 pm 
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moonspots wrote:
Jeff wrote:
Never risk your health or property (or other people on the road!) for your employer. If they don't provide training or equipment for these conditions then that is on them.

This! And go find another employer, ASAP.

2nd this.

I worked for landscaping company that started having employees do stuff that was questionable in regards to safety, along with treating their employees like crap. I later discovered they hadnít been paying state taxes or federal taxes for about a year and that the IRS had a federal tax lien against the landscape business for about $300,000. After about two months of watching all this go down, I walked away and told them to stuff it in a polite way. I had also told them Iíd be back for my last paycheck and that they better darn well pay up. I half expected not to get paid and have them try to yank my chain some more. They did pay up and I took a long a family member as a witness (who stayed in my car) in case they tried any shenanigans when I went to pick up my last paycheck. And I found a job that I liked a lot better and was treated much more respectfully.

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You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. - Abraham Lincoln
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Michael Lewis
Taking a nap



Joined: 27 Apr 2009
Posts: 467 | TRs
Location: Lynnwood, WA (for now)
Michael Lewis
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Taking a nap
PostFri Feb 08, 2019 10:14 pm 
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Only contacts are Dispatch. Corporate Office only available weekdays 9-5 so no luck there.

Kitty Litter would be nice but I have to take the bus to get to work and my route tends to have between 140 and 210 stops in residential areas. I would definitely run out of kitty litter before Sunday. Chains in my pack might help if I get stuck but if I crash... I'm done with driving jobs.

I didn't see a 1099 form in the contract but did sign a standard w-4 so I think that rules it out.

This is the best paying Job I've had so far with the friendliest staff. But their disregard for safety in the snow is giving me anxiety.

Dispatch just sent a broad message to stand-by until mid afternoon to re-evaluate roads. I'm fairly confident conditions will only deteriorate until Tuesday. I hope they take the opportunity to consider purchasing chains to maintain productivity throughout the week.

If not, Community Transit is across the street. I've seen them driving slow with chains on. Honestly I'd rather drive for them given my trucking experience and years on the bus. Hell, I heard that UPS, FedEx, and USPS are all using chains as needed. I'll know what to do by noon.
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monorail
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PostFri Feb 08, 2019 11:20 pm 
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Michael Lewis wrote:
I didn't see a 1099 form in the contract but did sign a standard w-4 so I think that rules it out.

Sorry, I jumped to the wrong conclusion! If you signed a W4, you are officially an employee. I'm surprised, though, because presumably that means the company is liable for safety: providing safe equipment, maintaining safe work practices, etc. So, I would think they'd realize that the costs of an accident/injury/fatality/lawsuit would dwarf (by several orders of magnitude) any "productivity" gains achieved through unsafe procedures. And of course the financial costs would suddenly seem meaningless if they find themselves facing the parents/siblings/children of someone killed by their greed.

If they really are nice people, I would try talking to them about this. Talk to the owner(s) if you can. Remind them that 37,000 people die in car accidents every year in the U.S.---   that on America's roads it is 9/11 every four weeks, year after year after year. Ask them how they'd feel if their child/sibling/spouse/best friend was killed or maimed in the name of cutting costs by a couple of dollars. Ask them to imagine what a field day in court it would be, for a lawyer questioning them about chains and time standards in the aftermath of a serious accident. And if they don't listen, walk away.
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