Multiple Trucking Companies Sued in Minnesota
The state of Minnesota made headlines recently by filing a lawsuit against three separate trucking companies. The charges involve accusations of wage theft and fraud, with the amount totaling $524,000.
Lakeview Motor Express closed its doors in November while still owing $370,000 to employees. The lawsuit seeks the lost wages plus $154,000 in penalties. The suit was filed in Second Judicial District Court for Ramsey County on January 19th.
The other trucking companies involved in the issue find themselves caught in the proceedings due to accusations that they participated in a calculated effort to close Lakeville Motor Express. Lakeville, LME Inc., and Finish Line Express are all being accused of having a part in the closing of the carrier. The closed carrier employed Teamsters Union Drivers. The closed carrier moved drivers and managers to Finish Line.
Some believe that the move was designed to allow them to hire non-union drivers. The issue becomes even more complicated due to accusations that equipment such as trucks and cell phones purchased for one carrier are now being used by the other.
The law requires carriers that employee over 100 people to give the state notice and to notify employees 60 days ahead of time before closing. While the carrier did transfer employees to a parent company, they employed 75 drivers according to the Department of Transportation.
“They slowly moved their clerical people and that got them down under 100,” Teamsters Local 120 Secretary –Treasurer Bill Wedebrand said. ”Managers at LME are the exact same people. They moved office staff to LME, [but] they work in the same building.”