Saturday, 8 September 2012

A MOTOR CARRIER'S PROBLEMS


Swift Transportation
and their legal troubles

Thanks to Ray Gompf at Big Truck TV. Link to their site is below. I certainly hope that Swift has cleaned up their act by now, but trainees beware! Dan
Ray Gompf posted on 2012/05/01 |


This Swift tractor-trailer won't be leaving
as swiftly as it arrived
There are two separate issues before the courts presently regarding questionable practices at Swift Transportation Inc. of Phoenix, Arizona.

There is an issue with the way driver students were licensed. Essentially, Swift trained drivers for a fee; operated as a third party tester and now those testing practices are in question and those that were trained are having their qualifications revoked by the issuing jurisdictions. Many of these students have the near $4,000 on their credit file with no way of making the debt good. Many have given up on ever becoming employed in the industry; many have moved on to other careers. But the debt they incurred during truck driver training is still haunting them.

Swift brought them into their training facility with the promise they would become employed for Swift immediately upon graduation from training but in many many cases, that promised employment just didn’t materialize and after months of “waiting for a load”, the new drivers just gave up and moved on. After all, they had bills to pay.

The problem for Swift came to light in February 2008 when their training facility near Memphis TN was raided by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, the US Department of Transportation inspector general; Secret Service; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement; US Marshals; Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Tennessee Department of Safety. Documents were seized during the investigation that centered on the illegal issuance of CDLs that could affect as many as 5,000 CDL holders across the United States.



For these trainees that have been saddled with large debts for the training and with no way to become employable in the trade, that becomes a major significant problem for which Swift needs to be held to account.

By simple math, up to 5,000 people indebted as much as $4,000; the result could be Swift having $20,000,000 on the plus side of their ledger for virtually no value to the trainee.

The other issue is the way Swift (and other trucking companies) have offered compensation to their drivers, contracted owner operators and others. Swift has used the Household Movers Guide Software that has consistently short changed the actual number of miles to calculate a drivers pay.
The HHG software has been responsible for short changing much of the driver's earnings because the HHG calculates mileage from the outskirts of the origin city to the outskirts of the destination city. Many of the urban cities are fifty or sixty miles wide; twenty miles is quite normal. This shorting of mileage is often in the 7 to 10% range.

Many trucking companies stopped using HHG decades ago because of this short changing of miles simply because drivers, especially owner operators, were not accepting the HHG miles. If there was a hint that HHG miles would be used, the driver and owner operator refused the load.

The other problem with HHG was that it always used the shortest possible route where as, the shortest possible route would often include miles on highways where trucks were not allowed. Many trucking companies long ago moved to actual and reasonable miles of compensating for loads. Often times they would offer HHG miles and then after consultation and negotiation, would move to actual miles. Some trucking companies just accepted HHG miles but added a flat ten percent to the mileage and that provided fair compensation for miles traveled.

Swift consistently used HHG and consequently has shorted compensation to the tune of millions of dollars to literally thousands of drivers and owner operators.

Now Swift is facing a class action lawsuit to recoup a great deal of that money shorted from drivers and owner operators.

If Swift hadn’t allegedly tried knowingly to shortchange drivers and owner operators and hadn’t spent years in litigation trying to fight this shortchanging and paid drivers and owner operators fairly, they might have saved the legal fees in fighting this action.

Peter’s Comment

It can be frustrating taking a load 1,000 miles and getting paid for only 900 and having part of that lodged into an escrow account.

Dan Bridger with his wife Mary
Daniel S Bridger’s Trucking Blog is great for truckers.