Incrementally, the cents add up, said James Sipler one mid-December afternoon as he ate a quick lunch in his pickup truck outside Southern Refrigerated Transport’s headquarters in Texarkana AR.
“The three-cent increase combined with our consistent miles—that’s considerable money,” Sipler said.
Between pay increases and reductions in benefit costs, Sipler said he “absolutely” has kept more money in his pocket by staying with SRT over the past four years, rather than changing jobs.
That’s exactly what SRT leaders want to hear, and why they’re doing it again in January 2019. Announcing an early Christmas gift to professional drivers, leaders at SRT said all mileage-based drivers at the company will receive a three-cent-per-mile pay increase beginning in mid-January, as well as more reductions in employee health insurance costs for the upcoming year.
The move marks the third pay increase in 15 months for the refrigerated carrier specialist. It’s also the third time in the past two years the company has lowered employee health costs.
Billy Cartright, chief operating officer at SRT, said the changes reflect improvements in the firm’s performance, and the desire of company officials to rightfully reward those responsible for the turnaround.
“We want to say thank you to our people who work hard to make SRT a reliable carrier for our customers,” Cartright said. “Our professional drivers are on the front lines of our business, and their success is the reason we can implement these improvements in benefits.”
Cartright said he hopes the pay increase shows SRT drivers how much the company believes in them, and is a sign to other professional drivers that the company is a premier carrier to work for, and a place dedicated to sharing success with its people.
Terri Lafayette, director of recruiting at SRT, said increases in driver pay and benefit cost reductions since 2016 have resulted in total compensation increases of thousands of dollars for professional drivers, including new holiday pay programs.
In the next year alone, the three cent-per-mile increase and insurance cost improvements will result in an additional $8,000 for some, she said.
For folks like Sipler, the yearly increases and perks—paired with the friendly and warm work environment—have made SRT home. That’s a welcome thing, coming off the recent loss of Sipler’s wife, Katrina, to cancer earlier in 2018.
“She loved SRT, too,” he said of his late companion and former driving partner. “They’ve really taken good care of me.”
To learn more or apply for a driving job at SRT, visit www.southernref.com.