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Massachusetts Highway At It Again!!!!!!!

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Oshkosh, Oct 21, 2005.

  1. Oshkosh

    Oshkosh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,655

    Hello, Mass Highway is at it again.Seems the politicians can go to the islands on tax payers money but when it comes to the guys plowing snow,sitting in their trucks for 20 ,30 hours at a time they cannot afford to get real on wages.....Not to mention the same ole same ole of ALWAYS running out of money the first of the year and contractors waiting till summer to get paid.
    Can anybody say Massachusetts Politicians just S#CK!!!!! If the plow contractors dont stick together year after year as history has proven it will just keep happening.
    I gave up four large plow/sander combos/snowfighter/wings trucks because of this B.S but feel strongly that it shouldnt have to happen to any hard working person.
    Follow this link to the latest news.....
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2005
  2. sixspeed

    sixspeed Senior Member
    Messages: 306

    That's because the politicians are busy giving there lawyer buddies those $200-$500 an hour no-bid contracts... no money left for the plow contractors.

    Sorry to say same in every state old buddy! :gunsfiring:
  3. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    "There is only one way to combat MassHighway's irrational, unprofessional behavior- and that is to remain united and not stoop to their level! We will remain strong, we will remain professional and we will fight for what we believe in."


    "The MSICA is now calling for the removal of all wing plow attachments state wide!

    Wing plows save the Commonwealth hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Without wing plows pushing back breakdown lanes and ramp systems MassHighway will now have to spend millions per season hiring loaders for post storm clean up. Loaders will take day's to replace what wing plows can do in a matter of hours during or just after a storm."

    I thought they said that they were not going to stoop to their level??? I agree that they deserve a fuel surcharge but nobodys going to give it to them if they are intentionally doing a less then adequate job. I dont know how any contractor could choose to be less productive while plowing roads that citizans drive on. What if someone dies??? What ever happened to people taking pride in good work? I will go as far as to say that a point needs to be made to the state as to how important their jobs are but this is not the way to do it. It does not matter what the reasons are or weather they are right or wrong; if citizans see the roads in terrible shape they are going to start complaining to the same people who vote not to give the contractors the money they deserve, do you think thats going to make the legislators any more likely to vote them a pay raise or give them what they want. It has been clear to me that state contractors intentionally half ass things during some storms and are quicker to take care of others. It usually depends on whats in the news and what the masnowfighters tell their members to do. You guys have no right to complain if you try to make your point by intentionally making the roads less safe and getting the state to pay more money for loaders afterwards. I dont want illegal immagrants plowing for the state, wages need to reflect a fair profeit margin which may not be happening without the fuel surcharge. This is America people deserve to get paid a decent wage for what they do. With that said, I dont care what the circumstances are, if you intentionally do less then you are capeable of safely doing and make the roads unsafe just to make your point, you dont deserve a dime. They say how important their jobs are then they all agree to half ass for a storm or two to make a point. Nobody is making these contractors work for the state, if they dont like it they can quit its that simple. The owner of a landscaping company I sub for from time to time use to plow for the state, but he got sick of his coworkers yelling over the radio that he was working too hard and telling him to take a break, they dont pay us enough to do this blah blah blah. The fact that they are underpaid and overworked may or may not be true but the point is if your going to "strike" dont do it in the middle of a snowstorm, nobody is making you come out and plow if you dont like it dont sign the contract and go sit by the fireplace during a storm. If iam going to loose money, it wont be staying up for 2+ days straight.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2005
  4. Oshkosh

    Oshkosh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,655

    Wow .lol

    I must have missed the half ass plowing.
    Yes I did give up my state contracts,I make enough money in the good weather to not to have to put up with their crap or anyone elses for that matter.
    I didnt read anywhere in that article to where the union was saying do a bad job????Must have missed that paragraph.As far as a safety issue maybe the stupid people trying to do the speed limit or faster in the middle of a snow storm ought to slow down???Just a thought.
    What I did read was not to sign their contracts until the pay rate was setteled because the state has a history of lieing about what and how they are going to do things.The many years I held state contracts we where told several things by the state that never happened.
    I wouldnt hang a wind for $10 per hour would you?
  5. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    Absolutely not, and no one else has to either. The half ass plowing was evident during a few storms last year. The one I am thinking of is the one at the end of Demcember that dumped about a foot on alot of MA. The state guys where no where to be found, 93 was as bad as I have ever seen it and snowfall rates were not that fast. The difference was very clear at the New Hampshire State line when I drove up 95 the next day. MA still had loaders working at a snails pace on the ramps and the sun was out. One of the many GOOD state plowers I talk to told me himself that alot of plowers were going slower then usual and making more passes then required by taking a bunch of small bites. They were all joking on their radios about how hard the snow was to push and how small a bites they had to take. Route 28 through my town is taken care of by the state and they are usually right on it, they would come down the street every 5 minuites most storms. This particular storm I saw one in 5 hours driving around with the plow up and then coming back the other way with the plow down. Something was going on with the contracts then or there must have been some dispute becauese it did not happen again all winter.

    I have no problems with MA state plowers at all, and I think most do a very good job and the roads are well kept. However, there is evidence even in the snowfighters own statements, that they will sacrifice a good job to make a point. If its worth doing, its worth doing right. I have the utmost respect for those that work hard to keep our roads clear, I plow too so I know what its like out there. What I have a problem with is a few people and in some cases the masnowfighters ruining the reputation of the good state plowers. Of course they deserve the money, they should get the money long before our elected officials get it to take tax payer funded vacations to Europe and other areas of the world, all expenses paid. It is just not productive to intentionally do a bad job and will only hurt the reputation of the thousands of good plowers out there. The only thing iam saying is dont bother coming out and taking any money at all if your intention is to do a less then adequate job. Live up to their statement that they will not stoop to the level of the state.

    As far as masshighway being "at it again" I agree.
  6. Oshkosh

    Oshkosh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,655

    I agree if it is worth doing it is worth doing right.

    I agree and I have seen as many poorly plowed driveways and parking lots also.
    There are good and bad operators in all aspects of snow removal.As far as poor plowing, plows up etc.. You are supposed to loose your contract if you are not doing your job.So that is an administration problem add that to the list of Mass Highways problems.They dont have qualified people running the show.I would say of the dozen guys I knew only four had ever even driven a plow truck much less had a clue what a plow operator was up against.Ten years ago it was different,most of the bosses came up from entry level jobs with Mass Highway been there done that.
    Check this out,I had just made a pass putting down straight salt on a two lane road(Rt127) I got to the end and turned around put my blade up so I would scrape off the salt I had just applied five minutes earlier,I had gone no more than 100yards when a Mass highway inspecter from Arlington came the other way,he stopped me and asked why my blade was up I told him that I had just finished applying a load of salt and was letting it work,He screamed at me for five minutes and made me scrape all the way back to the pit.That wasted about $500 in materials alone.Not a clue!!!This was one of the big bosses.
    I also agree New Hampshire does a much better job in all aspects of their highway system.They also do a better job with less equipment.You notice they hang wings and dont have pickups plowing the highways for the most part,they send out equipment setup to do the job unlike Mass Highway.You will see three trucks doing the same job up there that they use six trucks for down here.
    I had four trucks signed,a Oshkosh snowfighter with belly scraper and wing, a Autocar triaxle with ten yard spreader,a Autocar ten wheeler with 10 yard spreader and wing,a six wheel International with ten yard spreader and wing.My pickup was for plowing my driveway.I used to be penalized because I had big equipment ,didnt want the public to see a big truck out when they could send three pickups out instead,even though I would do the same work for 20% less in pay.It was all about the publics perception,they worry about people who dont really have a clue rather than doing the job right.
    Throw in not being paid until the fall and they can have their state contracts.I figured I had to have about $30,000 in the bank to go plowing for the state!!!!
  7. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407


    I agree 100% with everything you said. The only palce pickups should be used is plowing around intersections and doing a little cleanup work behind the big trucks. No more then 1 or 2 max though. I was driving up 93 last winter and around Wilmington I could not believe my eyes, about 12 3/4 tons with 8' plows all plowing an interstate highway.

    We need the big trucks with double wings like they use in Northern New England. It seems like you never see any wings inside I-495. They are all taking care of the mass pike. You see more in Western MA but still not nearly as many as you see as soon as you cross into NH. Masshighway is no different then these national companies that try to orgainze snowplowing and other maintance at chain stores. Nobody in charge has sat in a plow truck before, the most they have ever done is stand in front of a salt pile whild talking on the news saying we have X pieces of equipment redy blah blah blah. I wonder if anyone knows how we can get an inventory of Mass Highway owned plowtrucks and compare them to some other states. It all seems very mismanaged. They buy all the wrong equipment, or at least it seems. I would like to see less pickups and many more dumps with wings.
  8. Oshkosh

    Oshkosh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,655

    Two Batches of equipment ago...

    Another funny story at tax payers expense,I think it was around 1990 or so Mass Highway purchased a ton of Ford F600s, I think they were with 429 gas engines and automatics.Seems all the trucks would over heat the transmissions something to do with the gear ratios or something that the trans was better matched up to a diesel(lower revs) and the gas engines just burnt them up.The other problem was the engines where dropping connecting rods into the oil pans because of being over rev'd.There where a bunch at one of the auctions and I asked the lead mechanic for them why they such low miles.He told me the story and told me to stay far away from them.
    I dont or didnt mean to offend anyone with a pickup plowing for Masshighway(I drove one(F350) in 1991)There is no need for them on the open road.Ramps and points one truck per section could do the job.
  9. Winter Land Man

    Winter Land Man Senior Member
    Messages: 723

    I love NH state DOT. They make you plow no matter how little of snow, if you sand, you must plow as well. payup payup payup But here in MA, I don't do any state contracts due to everyone's opinion. I have one contract with a town, and I send a employee to do that route. Up in NH, there's wings on all the trucks, I've seen them on 1-tons even. I have noticed the lack of wings here. It sucks when the roads are iced up due to the fact the snow melted the previous day, and onto the road because the snow isn't far back so it can run off.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2005
  10. Joe D

    Joe D Senior Member
    Messages: 605

    If the state will not pay the money you guys want, don't plow for them. The town I live in was like that 4 years ago, paying less that any other town around by 20$ or so. Most guys stopped plowing for them and went to other towns and the town was hanging with very few trucks, next year the rate was 65 pr hr.
    The GPS thing I don't get I guess, whats the big deal of having it in your truck? When ever the plow guys are stoppped for break the mass highway truck is sitting there with them.
    I was thinking of plowing for them this year as they plow for tripple the hours most guys do per year. Whats the rate for pick ups if you know off hand?
  11. Oshkosh

    Oshkosh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,655

    State will pay it just takes a while.

    Hello,Rate for a 3/4 ton 4x4 pickup is $50 per hour.
    If you do plow for the state you will get paid for any plowing up to Dec 31st pretty quickly and then you wont see a check till the summer.So if you need the cash to make payments stick with your local town or private contracts.Most pits have their favorites so dont expect all the hours your first season.You might luck out by not always.
    As far as not plowing for them that is what they count on,in the past there used to be a waiting list of trucks waiting to sign on.But now that isnt the case, with the towns paying in two weeks most guys work because they need the pay check.Dont get me wrong you'll get a big check just as you start to forget about it.:gunsfiring:
    The GPS isnt an issue if you are doing your job so that wouldnt bother most guys.Makes you wonder about the guys who dont want it??????
  12. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    All I'm going to say is I have witnessed a ton of corruption, mismanagement, malingering and waste regarding Mass highways plowing program. Several people have mentioned seeing a lot of pickups. Being from NH I was stunned when I started seeing it myself. I have seen half tons and even a Bronco plowing Mass highways, and if you look close most of these guys are carrying the plow about an inch of the ground so it looks like theyre plowing but theyre not beating on their equipment. I know the reasoning behind the GPS is valid, because there is a lot of people getting paid to do nothing, kind of like the Big Dig. Everybody makes money and very little gets done.
  13. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    Really? Cant say I have seen that
    You have to have at least a 3/4 ton to be hired by the state last I checked. I dont think I would go as far as to say I have seen 1/2 tons or broncos plowing state roads. If they were carrying the plow an inch off the ground in a bronco or half ton it probley was not a state contractor but some guy driving his truck between private jobs. My town wont even hire 1/2 tons, never mind the state. This has been the case as long as I have known, I dont think this is a new thing??? Sombody correct me if iam wrong.
  14. Joe D

    Joe D Senior Member
    Messages: 605

    I only see 3/4 and 1 tons myself but don't doubt it. I also see the guys in a line and only the 1st truck is scraping and the next 5 or 6 are not. I see them out when the pavement is black from rain and salt and they ar eall plowing and doing a nice spark show.
    The funny thing is a mass highway guy is always there and letting it happen.
  15. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    that's what I am talking about. It makes sense to me that they would only use 3/4 or above, but I have seen half tons, and in particular I remember seeing a fullsize Eddie Bauer Bronco on 95 between Peabody and Newburyport a few times one winter. That was a bunch of years ago, maybe they smartened up and changed it. You can tell the guys who are "plowing" for the state by the fact that they arent going 80 mph. When they are traveling about 40 with several other trucks staggered across three lanes into the breakdown lane, then that suggests to me they are getting paid. And if you look close the plows are up just a tad. I have been told by plowers I've met that Mass Highway is a very desireable contract to get, because you get paid a lot and can goof off, sit at the state shed or Dunkin Donuts half the night on the clock. I've also been told that many of these guys have a private residential plowing route, and their Mass Highway job consists of leaving the plow down (or nearly down) while they are travelling between driveway jobs.
  16. Oshkosh

    Oshkosh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,655

    Bad apples in every occupation!!!

    You are correct there are guys double dipping.Last year it was all over the news the guy left his gps in the snowbank while he went and did his private accounts.I witnessed other things that shouldnt have happened personally. I have found in most jobs there are the guys who do a good job and there are the slackers.It is everywhere not just plowing.Mass Highway has the final say on how their contractors behave.I think a big part of the problem is they lead by example!!!!!
    You are correct I think it was four years ago they stopped hireing 1/2 tons to plow.Funny thing is they hire 3/4 tons with 7.5' blades????Should be 8' minimum.Another trick has been to throw a dual set of wheels on your 3/4 ton and get paid the higher one ton rate.I've seen Mass Highway hire a dumptruck with floats on the front and call it a snowfighter paying it a higher rate when it WASNT All Whell Drive.This all goes back to Masshighway not having qualified people running the department right down the line to the pits in some instances.There are always exceptions to the rule but overall they dont have a clue.They worry about only numbers when it is a system wide issue.
    When I was out with my Oshkosh I wasnt assigned to a battery,I just ran up and down our territory winging back the snow banks.There was another snowfighter with wings, he just sat with a battery,didnt move when the sanders where out, hardly ever used his wing during the storm....I felt like I was doing the work of two trucks, he got to sit and sleep while the spreaders where out and I was on the go the whole time.But because I wanted to do a good job I kept at it.Do you think the day after the storm anyone from district headquarters could tell which truck had winged back and which didnt??? But we both got paid the same!!!That comes down to the supervisors letting it happen,they all knew about it, all complained about it, but none of them did anything about it.Did I mention he had 9' wings and I had 11'????I feel like I was the dumb one, he made more money for alot less work!
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2005
  17. DugHD

    DugHD Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 420

    Just wanted to say , that driving from Maine down through Mass. I was amused to see a line of pick up trucks plowing the highway. :D
    Thats not even heard of here .
  18. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    Dont believe everything you are told, that may be a few people but the roads would not be plowed if thats what all plowers in MA did. Iam sure other states have people like described above, its not only MA. The problem with MA is they sub out way too much, they need to have more of their own, proper equipment not a bunch of pickups that probley do work on private routes.