What do big banks and L.A. port trucking companies have in common? Fine print in contracts that traps victims into signing bad deals.
We ve all signed our share of contracts. Rental agreements, cell phone contracts, car loans. You don t need to be a legal scholar to understand the basic concept: Two parties enter into an agreement that lasts until a fixed date. And as frustrated as you may get with, say, your landlord, you know that at the very least what you ve signed off on can t change upon a whim. Even if you don t like the terms, contracts are fundamentally about guaranteeing stability.
We take this for granted but not everyone can. A case in point is drivers at Green Fleet Systems, a trucking company serving the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
In order to work as an independent contractor for the company, the drivers have to sign a lease contract then pay to lease the company s trucks. In exchange, they are assured that they will ultimately own the truck they are leasing. In late 2011, about halfway through what was supposed to be a multi-year lease to-own agreement, they came in to work one day and were told they needed to sign a brand-new lease. As we ve reported before2, these leases tend to be sham documents that companies force so-called independent drivers to sign much like3 the home mortgage docs that trapped homeowners into loans whose costs escalated beyond affordability. (In reality, these drivers are misclassified employees4, a topic that will be taken up again in a future edition of Frying Pan News.)
Through this arrangement, companies are illegally passing on their business costs like the costs of expensive new trucks to de facto employees, while evading other responsibilities like payroll taxes and workers compensation. To add insult to injury, these drivers have no ability to fight back because, as independent contractors, it is illegal for them to have a voice by forming a union.
While port trucking companies have been misclassifying drivers for years, Green Fleet Systems went a giant step further by unilaterally changing a contract already in effect. A side-by-side comparison of the two documents shows, unsurprisingly, that the changes in the new lease overwhelmingly favor the company, limiting drivers rights even further. It states that if the driver ever does claim to be an employee, he or she will not only defend and hold the company harmless, but also pay the company s defense costs. (Hello, First Amendment!) Another section states that any dispute regarding the lease will be dealt with by an arbitrator chosen by the company. (Hello, Seventh Amendment!)
Why did the company suddenly attempt to make an already one-sided document even more so? Most likely, Green Fleet Systems was attempting to inoculate itself from being forced by the courts or the government to comply with basic employment law.
It turns out that shortly before the drivers were required to sign these new leases, two of their coworkers had filed wage-and-hour claims with the California Labor Commissioner, the government office charged with enforcing labor laws in California. A month later, two more Green Fleet drivers had filed claims. These claims have Green Fleet scrambling for cover.
So, in the midst of preparing to defend its practices in front of the Labor Commissioner, Green Fleet changed the agreement it had with its remaining independent drivers to state that drivers only option to resolve a dispute was through an arbitration service in Orange County (not the California Labor Commissioner).
In addition to what appears to be an attempt to prohibit drivers from exercising their rights before the Labor Commissioner, Green Fleet has also joined with other trucking companies to try and prevent the Labor Commissioner s office itself from doing its job of enforcing the law. Just after the four Green Fleet drivers hearings concluded in October 2012, while the final decision was still pending, Green Fleet and nine other companies filed a lawsuit attempting to prevent the Labor Commissioner s office from investigating, processing, or proceeding to hearing on any claim from the companies drivers. It s an interesting gambit, somewhat akin to criminal gangs seeking injunctions against the LAPD.
In the end, despite Green Fleet s attempts to shield itself from California employment laws, the Labor Commissioner found that the four drivers were, in fact, employees and had been unlawfully misclassified. The final decision, released in early 2013, determined that Green Fleet owed the drivers a combined $280,000.
As for the remaining drivers at Green Fleet, it remains to be seen whether the revised leases that required drivers to sign away their rights are even worth the paper they are written on. If the recent decisions from the Labor Commissioner are any indication, probably not. Trucking companies can write whatever they want into leases, they can present those leases to drivers in a language drivers don t speak, they can refuse to give drivers copies of the leases and they can change the leases unilaterally. Ultimately, none of this will alter the facts on the ground: these drivers are employees, and companies are stealing from them. The more that companies unilaterally change their contracts mid-term, the clearer it is that they are engaging in a cover-up.
(Jessica Durrum is a researcher for the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy.)
Based on Volvo s MethaneDiesel concept whereby LNG can be used in diesel engines, and Shell s LNG expertise and infrastructure investments, the two companies say they will coordinate their activities and support the wider use of LNG in the transport sector.
The collaboration agreement is underway and the companies say work has begun with the first stage focused on selected markets in central Europe and the US.
Natural gas is today used in compressed form (CNG) in city buses and smaller commercial vehicles. However, to perform long-haul assignments the vehicle must be able to carry a larger amount of fuel on board. This is made possible if the engine can run on LNG since the gas has a smaller volume in liquefied form.
The Volvo FM MethaneDiesel (pictured) is equipped with methane-diesel technology and uses liquefied gas as its main fuel. The proportions are up to 75 percent gas and 25 percent diesel, depending on the type of transport and driving cycle, Volvo says. Its driving range is about 1,000 km on gas, and it can run on both LNG and liquefied biogas.
The truck is already available in Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK and its market roll-out is expanding into Italy and France.
In other LNG news, GE Oil & Gas has received a $620 million contract to provide a range of technology services for QGC s Queensland Curtis LNG (QCLNG) plant off the east coast of Australia.
QGC s parent company BG Group and GE say the plant will be the world s first facility to turn coal seam gas into LNG. The QGC plant is the first of four LNG projects scheduled for Curtis Island and is expected to begin production in 2014, with the LNG produced primarily targeted for export including to China, Japan and Singapore.
When used as a substitute for coal, LNG from the QGC project could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 35 percent, the companies say.
In his speech earlier this month at the IHS CERAWeek 2013 energy conference in Houston, GM CEO and chairman Dan Akerson called for increased use of natural gas as a motor fuel1. He said a typical 5,000-vehicle light-duty fleet could save at least $10 million annually by switching to CNG, and a typical Class 8 operator could save $2,500 to $3,500 per month by switching to LNG. But there are only about 1,200 CNG stations nationwide, with half in just five states, and only about 66 LNG stations in 10 states.
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Since 1934, CTA has been serving the California trucking industry by advocating sound transportation policies, regulations, training, education, and other resources to help maintain a safe, environmentally responsible and efficient transportation system in the state. Utility Trailer Manufacturing Company has been a part of CTA since 1955. Additionally, Bennett served as Chairman of the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association.
The honor from CTA recognizes Bennett for 50 plus years in the trucking industry, and for his pioneering role in the development of California s trucking industry, stated Michael D. Campbell, CTA s CEO/EVP. On behalf of CTA, this honor expresses its appreciation for Paul Bennett s dedication to the development of advanced designs and test methods that have resulted in light weight, efficient, durable, high quality, and cost-effective trailers. The honor was recently given at the 2013 Annual Management Conference in Westlake Village, CA.
Bennett is now officially a part of CTA s Golden Jubilee Club, which recognizes pioneers with a minimum of 50 years in the trucking industry. I am truly honored to be given this recognition and to be a part of CTA s group of distinguished individuals, said Bennett.
Federal agents raided a trucking company in Mt. Crawford, VA on February 12th on charges of forcing drivers to falsify logbooks. Unfortunately, this sort of thing happens all the time, but for it to be happening to such a degree that there s a raid by federal agents really says something.
The raid was the result of an investigation that has been ongoing since 2006 and came about when workers reported that their supervisors forced them to lie about their hours in order to get paid. Agents said that no less than seven witnesses complained about having to falsify records.
Sometimes they would keep a log for the duration of their trip and then at the end of their routes they would get checked by a supervisor. If their books showed any hour overages, they were made to destroy them and fill out new ones with false information.
One driver reported driving from Knoxville, TN, to Dallas, TX, a trip that should take around 13 hours depending on traffic. He said that when he couldn t do it in less than 11, management made him lie about the hours worked.
The only thing shocking about this news is the degree to which it was happening. The supervisors and owners are either incredibly stupid or complete scumbags, but what about the drivers? These could the guys who are running over hours, driving tired, and giving other drivers a bad name. But, these could also be the guys who couldn t get another job and need to keep their heads down and do what they re told in order to bring home enough money to put food on the table.
There will always be drivers who don t know better, or who are desperate enough to look the other way. The question is: How can we prevent situations like this from happening?
08 February 2013
- Day to day liaison with freight forwarders and resolution of issues relating to importing.
- Support the integration of product flow into the import operation and SSL Network.
- Support performance and commercial management of SSL’s Freight Manager and selected PCC.
- Support relationship development with selected shipping lines and hauliers.
- Focus on realising continuous improvement opportunities.
- Monitoring of reporting and ensuring visibility functions are delivering the required solution.
- Suggesting development and improvement opportunities.
- Provide data for challenging Trading and Merchandising on commercial decisions and performance of vendors supported by management information from LIMA.
- Support the development & implementation of new supply chain solutions to maximise service & minimise cost.
- Prioritise in-bound flow of product to minimise incurring demurrage.
- Provide data as required to in-country Global Sourcing teams and Trading to support development of Global Sourcing.
- Provide solutions and quotations for trading on new routes to market.
- Assist with customs duty classifications for all new lines.
- Processing of freight invoices and liaison with Accounts regarding invoicing issues and queries.
- Support Import Team as required.
Produce project plans, supplier analysis and process maps to support development strategy.
- Able to demonstrate commercial awareness.
- Experience of International Supply Chain.
- Experience of opening shipping documentation.
- Experience of classifying product for customs duty.
- Understanding of Trading, Global Sourcing, Secondary and Supply Chain Operations gained in an FMCG environment.
- Experience of standard industry import procedures.
- Ability to influence at all levels.
About our client
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Your application will be reviewed by Michael Page. Please be aware we receive a high volume of applications for every role advertised & regularly receive applications from candidates who exceed the job credentials. We will only contact you within the next 14 days if you are selected for interview.
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By Associated Press Published: Jan 29, 2013 at 1:51 PM PST Last Updated: Jan 29, 2013 at 1:51 PM PST REDDING, Calif. (AP) A 50-year-old Northern California woman is in critical condition after authorities say her boyfriend accidentally ran over her with a truck.
The Record Searchlight of Redding reports that Gregory Gross of Yuba City stopped to let his girlfriend, Deronda Gail Harris, use the restroom at a gas station on Sunday afternoon.
California Highway Patrol officer Matt Clark tells the newspaper that Gross thought Harris had gone inside when he moved the 3-axle freightliner forward to make a U-turn.
Instead, he found her lying injured on the road. Clark says she had been run over by the right side tires of his truck.
The 58-year-old Gross has not been cited or arrested. Clark says drugs nor alcohol was a factor in the incident.
Harris is hospitalized at Mercy Medical Center in Redding.
Not much change here…I’m still trying to get caught up and the weather is still cold.
But I am getting horses rode.
I really debated about getting front shoes put on the sorrel horse…I just don’t like having them on the horses in this snow. They just promote ice balls like crazy and are slick when I ride down the road. Soooo…I bit the bullet and trimmed his heels way down. He still short strides just a hair on the hard ground, but is traveling just fine over in the field, where the ground is soft and the snow is deep. That will work for now.
Working in that deep snow, with the soft ground underneath is quite the workout for these horses. Two trips around the 20 acre field and Bugs and Frosty are just a huffin’ and a puffin’. Moon seems to be handling it incredibly well. Moon always has handled the cold weather better than he handles heat. But I also started him on a new breathing supplement, so that may be part of it.
Frosty gave me quite the scare the other night. His coughing is gone, but I can tell he still isn’t 100%. I have been riding him, but just walking for about 20 minutes because I don’t want to get overdo it or get him too warm. After I get done riding each horse, I unsaddle, groom and then grain. For the probably the first time e.v.e.r. in his life, Frosty did not finish his grain. I turned him out, hayed everyone and then stood by the gate watching. Sure enough…Frosty started pawing the ground, then looking at his side. About the time I was going to walk in and check him out, he walked off and started eating hay. So I just stood and watched for a while longer. Pretty quick, he starts pawing again and this time, he lays down and starts rolling. I was in that pasture and had him caught before he even got to his feet. Damn!
I got him to the trailer and then almost gave myself a heart attack because I couldn’t find my White Lightening. I was throwing shit left and right looking for that little white tub.
I finally found it. Shoved a spoonful in Frosty’s mouth and then went to get him a bucket of really warm water. Fifteen minutes later I shoved another spoonful in his mouth and offered him the water. He sipped a little bit. Then we walked for a few minutes and I shoved a 3rd spoonful in his mouth. This White Lightening is the most amazing stuff for stopping colic I have ever used…but it is a real pain to administer. It has the consistency of flour, so the slightest poof of air out of a horse’s nostrils sends it flying, not to mention you have to pry the mouth open and dump the spoonful onto the tongue. After the 3rd spoonful, Frosty drank a half a bucket of the warm water and I checked to see if he wanted to eat. When he tied into his hay like nothing had happened, I knew he was over it.
Still, I didn’t have a very restful night. I got up 3 times in the night, got dressed and walked out to check on him. He was fine. Whew!
He looked a little brighter the next day and I have been making sure to offer him buckets of extra warm water, which he hasn’t done any more than wet his lips from. From the amount he is drinking out of his tub though, he is getting a sufficient intake. So I dunno what that was all about. It’s been cold for so long now and like I said, I can tell he still isn’t 100%…but there really doesn’t seem to be anything specific enough to warrant calling the vet. No temp, his cough has subsided and he is eating, drinking, pooping and peeing normally. Just going to take it easy with him, but still keep going with a regular exercise routine.
Now, if I could just get everything else lined out so I could head to Arizona….
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Karen Rasmussen, who has been CEO of the Arizona Trucking Association since 2001, is leaving to lead Help Inc., the provider of PrePass and other commercial vehicle safety services, effective Nov. 15.
At the trucking group, Rasmussen has been involved in all aspects of commercial vehicle operations including safety, education, enforcement, public relations, environmental protection, and local, state and federal advocacy.
Karen led our association with enthusiasm, integrity and the desire to provide the best product for our members, Arizona Trucking Association Chairman George Cravens said in a statement. We will miss her tremendously, but wish her all the best in her new endeavor.
Rasmussen will become Help Inc. s president and CEO. Her experience includes tenure at Ryder System, the California Trucking Association, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, the Oklahoma Governor s Office of Highway Safety and the Montana State Legislature.
One of the new software vendors you might have seen at IBM i conferences this year is InnerApps, the Ohio-based developer of an identity management solution called Identity Syncronizer. The company, which was spun off from an IT services firm with experience in the IBM i trucking software world, is ramping up the visibility of IDSync, which allows companies to extend the power of their Microsoft Active Directory software to manage identities and employee access to non-Windows computing resources.
InnerApps was founded in 2010 as a subsidiary of Tranztec Solutions, an IT services and hosting firm that is well-versed in the implementation and management of IBM i-based dispatching applications, including the TL2000 and Innovative IES ERP systems from TMW Systems (which incidentally is being gobbled up by location-services giant Trimble).
IDSync started out as many commercial projects do: as a one-off project by an IT services firm. According to InnerApps vice president of operations Marty Remi, Tranztec had been hired by a large international firm to create a better way of handling user provisioning and password changes for its 2,000 employees. “They were consuming a lot of IT ops bandwidth with fairly menial tasks that gets tin the way of getting things done,” Remi tells IT Jungle. “They liked it and said, ‘Why don’t you do this for our hosted Exchange environment?’ So we moved on from there.”
Tranztec began offering IDSync as a shrink-wrapped product in 2008, and in 2010 it formed InnerApps to market and sell it. This year, the company has been focusing on ramping up the visibility of IDSync. That effort brought Rimi and other executives to Anaheim, California, this May, when they attended the COMMON conference as attendees.