Truck driver shortage expected to cause major delays, higher prices across country

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RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Trucks carry everything from food and drinks to tools and machinery. But a shortage of drivers is beginning to hit consumers where it hurts.

Without enough truck drivers, experts say the price of just about everything could go up.

"Our organization represents members from California, from Maine," said Tom Bennett, secretary treasurer for Teamsters Local 200.

And what they're finding around the country is exactly what Roundy's is doing at its Oconomowoc distribution center.

"A $2,000 hiring bonus paid out throughout one's first three months," said Beth Robinson, HR manager at Roundy's Distribution Center.

"Some companies are changing hourly rates, some companies are increasing the mileage rate, some companies are doing hiring bonuses," said Bennett.

Hiring bonuses as high as $10,000 are out there. Sysco is offering $7,500.

"They're just trying to get that person who already has that CDL from that company over there -- come on over here, we're gonna give you an $8,000 sign-on bonus," said Dan Zdrojewski, MATC truck driving instructor.

Dan Zdrojewski's been teaching CDL classes at MATC since 2014.  He thinks the sign-on bonus doesn't really address the problem.

"We're really not solving the shortage issue. We need to get more people into the industry," said Zdrojewski.

According to the American Transportation Association, the industry needs to hire a million new drivers over the next decade to keep pace with a growing demand on freight and retirements.

"The baby boomers are leaving. They're retiring. They're retiring at a faster pace than the people coming into the industry," said Bennett.

"I would say for us, you know, without the drivers it makes it a little more difficult to get the products to our stores for our customers," said Robinson.

With a truck driver shortage, supplies are being delayed big time. That's translating into higher prices across the board.

"We're seeing meat prices escalate. We're seeing signs on deli department counters saying, not sure what our hours are gonna be. We're not sure what products we're gonna be getting. So we're starting to see it right now, today," said Bennett.

Drivers are in such high demand these days, just about every company big and small is looking. 

As for Kroeger, you can apply on their website at www.jobs.Kroger.com.

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