- Truckers who have won lawsuits and judgments against companies who have been found liable for imposing unfair and illegal working practices rarely receive the court-ordered payment, USA Today reported.
- The companies dodge payments by moving their assets into shell corporations, then declare bankruptcy in the original company name. Frequently drivers are offered a fraction of the settlement, often under coercion. Those who refuse may be fired. Fighting back with further litigation is financially impossible for most drivers.
- The California Labor Commission, which oversees the judgments, is overworked and understaffed, and therefore unable to effectively follow up on evasive tactics used by companies including Fargo, QTS and Container Connection.
The trucking industry seems trapped on all sides.
When IKEA debuted a plan for ensuring all drivers engaged with a transport company with which it contracts would be fairly paid and afforded adequate rest, such action seemed like a novelty. But then, Costco and Goodyear dropped Pacific 9 outright, a line that had been exposed as having formerly engaged in economic abuse toward drivers.
The USA Today investigative report reveals further damaging practices among trucking companies, which are occurring simultaneous to continued complaints by HR departments about the lack of quality drivers, with the rate still reaching all-time highs even as the economy strengthens. A further strain on the industry is the pending ELD mandate, which though slowly implemented, remains a sticking point for long time independent drivers who question its efficacy and fairness. Then there are the misclassification lawsuits and their ripple effects.
Even with this series of challenges, the trucking industry is in a position to reorganize itself in a positive way. Reinventing itself as a field attractive to talented drivers willing to accept the coming changes, and becoming one in which valuable staff are rewarded, will likely bring it more success than the current morass of dissatisfaction voiced by both management and staff. An industry shakeup is coming in the form of various technologies such as ELDs and automation; it may be the opportune time to address the rest of the challenges as well.