NOEL KING, HOST:
The stuff that you buy in stores – clothes, food, electronics – almost all of it got there on a truck. Long-haul trucking is getting cheaper, and that’s good for consumers. It means stuff is cheaper. But it’s not so good for truck drivers because this is happening at their expense. Here’s Keith Romer from Planet Money.
KEITH ROMER, BYLINE: In 2017, Kimberley Sikorski decided she was going to become a trucker. She called Prime Inc. – no relation to Amazon Prime – because they offered free training. Prime seemed eager to have her.
KIMBERLEY SIKORSKI: Literally, I think I called on a Thursday night, and they were ready to buy me a Greyhound ticket for Sunday to start on Monday.
ROMER: Sikorski took classes and drove with a trainer for three months. But before she could go out on her own, she had a choice to make.
SIKORSKI: So you’re given the option to either be a company driver or a lease operator.
ROMER: Option one – she’s a regular old employee paid based on how many miles she drives. Option two – she gets to be her own boss. She’d have to lease a truck through Prime. But then, after expenses, she would get a share of whatever her loads brought in in