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Truckers Often "Work for Free" Due to One-Sided Contracts, Investigation Says

Posted 30-Jun-2017

USA Today has completed an extensive investigation in the working conditions of the average commercial truck driver. Using salary data, working hours, and even sworn testimonies from labor dispute hearings, most of which originated from trucking companies in Southern California, the newsgroup came to a shocking conclusion: many truckers are working essentially for free.

It is not that truckers were not getting paid. Instead, trucking companies were making truck drivers finance their own trucks, as if they were leasing it to buy. Only, they were not buying the trucks at all. When a trucker quit, was fired, or missed payments, the trucking company would seize the vehicle and keep every cent that went towards it from the trucker’s pocket.

In addition to being a huge financial burden, the trucks financed directly by employees became bargaining chips that only served to the company’s advantage. In some cases studied by USA Today investigators, trucking companies would demand truckers work long hours – sometimes a full 20 hour day – or else the truck would be seized due to the trucker “breaking contract.” Other companies still cut corners and exploited truck drivers by making them pay for their own fuel and insurance. All in all, the cost to be a truck driver could easily outweigh the wages earned.

A Widespread Issue with Labor Law Implications

In California alone, nearly 200 complaints and claims that reached a court of law have been filed each year since 2010. While the majority of those cases actually do end with courts ordering wage repayments for the truck drivers, the authority of the court does not go much further. Allegations of exploitation, labor law violations, and even forms of abuse are rarely, if ever, addressed.

Namely, the contracts that allow trucking companies to lease trucks to drivers without actually paying towards buying it, like a mortgage on a house, continue to exist largely unchallenged. There was even one example of a trucker receiving $854.13 for a week’s pay but going home with just $0.67 after all of the forced deductions. Another ended up owing nearly $300 at the week’s end.

(You can read a full article about the trucking industry wage and labor scandal from Caller Times by clicking here.)

The significant issues in the trucking industry are in no way isolated to Southern California, though. Wherever trucking is a large industry, there are certainly companies looking for ways to take advantage of drivers through leasing contracts, unreasonable penalties for missing work, and the like.

At The Law Office of George P. Escobedo & Associates, PLLC, we are serious about sticking up for hardworking Americans and never back down from a fight, no matter what legal team or corporation stands with the opposition. We proudly take on difficult workers’ compensation claims for employees being neglected by employers, and would love to hear your claim if you need help. Call (210) 807-3178 or contact us today to schedule a consultation with a San Antonio workers’ compensation attorney you can trust to be there for you.