Fuel Transport paying $10K bonus to fully vaccinated truck drivers

Truck drivers at Fuel Transport have a new reason to roll up their sleeves prior to Jan. 15, in the form of a $10,000 bonus for those who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Referred to as the Covid-19 Driver Appreciation Program – and also offered as thanks for keeping trucks on the move during the pandemic – the funds will be paid in 12 monthly installments. Only those who receive two doses of the vaccine will receive the full payout. Fully vaccinated recruits who join the fleet before Jan. 15 will also be eligible.

Fuel Transport containers
(Photo: Fuel Transport)

The Jan. 15 deadline aligns with a federal vaccine mandate that applies to border-crossing truck drivers. But the bonus will even apply to the fleet’s regional drivers.

“These drivers are on the front line of our work. They’re the grassroots of what we do on a daily basis,” said Rob Piccioni, founder and CEO of Montreal-headquartered Fuel Transport, which employs about 100 truck drivers. “When Covid hit, we weren’t in a position to hand out bonuses and appreciation.”

About 85% of the truck drivers were already vaccinated before the program was announced, and Fuel’s non-asset third-party-logistics and brokerage business was ready to pick up any slack if needed. But nobody pushed back against the plan.

It’s also the first time the fleet has paid a recruiting or retention bonus of any kind.

“We also need these drivers to be safe and protect the people they’re interacting with as well.”

– Rob Piccioni

“We kind of felt for these drivers as well that weren’t vaccinated and running into the U.S. all the time,” Piccioni said, referring to potential exposure to Covid-19. “You were a bit more exposed than, potentially, the average person.”

“We need to ensure the integrity of our workplace,” he added. “We also need these drivers to be safe and protect the people they’re interacting with as well.”

The fleet, which already has a nurse on staff to support ongoing wellness initiatives, even hosted a two-hour information session with healthcare professionals to field questions about Covid-19, vaccines and more, to help relieve any anxiety.

Earlier in the pandemic, Fuel Transport had actually banned truck drivers from facilities to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. But fleet managers also heard from drivers who complained they were being treated like a virus themselves. It was a learning process.

Supply chain worries

While he clearly supports vaccines, Piccioni is still raising concerns that border-related vaccine mandates are being implemented too quickly.

 “We do have supply chain issues in North America, and right now even taking 10% of the drivers out of the flow of goods between Canada and the U.S. is going to cause a tremendous ripple effect,” he said.

“I am pushing and lobbying for the respective bodies on both sides of the border to potentially push this out.”

Piccioni believes governments should first look at additional ways to encourage more drivers to be vaccinated.

“They need to be walked through this. They can’t just be pushed through a small door,” he said. “Create something around promoting the vaccine for these ladies and gentlemen that have been running back and forth across North America without real guidance.

“They’re doing the necessary work we need.”

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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  • What about the drive that already working for these companies. They get nothing but a kick in the teeth like always

  • Many employers are paying 500 for first shot and a 1000 for second shot . Most homeless shelters required 2 shots to sleep inside or get meals that I go to

  • Congratulations to Rob Piccioni for being solution oriented and providing the opportunity for his employees to have the information they need to make informed decisions.

  • Perhaps the companies that say they will give bonus for a driver to get his two shots it is only black and white printing ,with this uncertain climate about the variant and more of other virus come along there will be a fine print perhaps saying after you get fully immunise you will agree to get more???

  • No matter how you cut it, mandatory vaccines violate our constitutional rights and healthcare HIPPA laws and religious rights.

    To push a mandatory vaccination is to turn our society into a dictatorship, not a democracy.

  • You would think that a trucking company would not be forcing there drivers to take drugs that aren’t fda approved. Eua drugs are not approved therefore would be considered illegal substances in there blood. If a trucker gets blood clots and has a vaccine related heart attack and kills people are you going to be responsible as vaccine companies have no liability.?