December 6, 2023

We need an experienced snowplow operator

We need an experienced snowplow operator

As storms sweep across the United States, local officials must contend with twin challenges this winter—too much snow and not enough drivers to get rid of it.

“I don’t know where everybody’s gone,” said Dan Schnell, who is trying to fill a position for snowplow drivers. “As far as hiring help, I can’t get any, and the fuel price has jumped. It has gone up so much that it affects all our overhead.”

He added, “Right now, to get plow drivers, we have to pay more, but we can’t charge more.” 

A broad upheaval in the U.S. labor force since the coronavirus pandemic began in 2020 has trickled down to the transportation sector, creating shortages of snowplow operators and city and school bus drivers. Snowplow hiring is a major challenge nationwide because other companies are also vying for drivers. “We are all competing for essentially the same group of applicants,” Schnell said.

“Plowing snow is a difficult job,” he continued. “When the weather gets tough, we ask our snowplow drivers to be in terrible conditions in the middle of the night.”

In recent weeks, the challenges of getting drivers behind plows coincided with unruly storms that pummeled the United States. Forecasters say that more heavy snow is expected to fall in the Midwest this week before it moves east.

“We are running a little bit behind,” Schnell said.