This summer, 1,300 Central Refrigerated Service truckers anticipate a damages determination by the arbitrator who concluded they had been misclassified as independent contractors by the carrier, who’s owned by Swift Transportation.
Arbitrator Patrick Irvine likely will announce the amount truckers should receive after the trial’s conclusion May 5, said Dan Getman, the drivers’ attorney. In 2015, Irvine allowed Swift Transportation to be named in proceedings after the truckload giant acquired CRS.
In October, he ruled the company should have classified the owner-operators as employees. Consequently, the Fair Labor Standards Act applied, entitled them to compensation for every hour worked. Irvine declined Swift’s request to decertify the collective arbitration proceeding.
Following that decision, the corporation reserved $22 million to cover damages and other legal costs. The Arizona-based carrier did not respond to a request for comment. In November, it reported that it disputed the arbitrator’s rulings and would “vigorously defend” itself in the collective action.
The merger of two of the continent’s largest and most prominent trucking companies, Swift Transportation and Knight Transportation, won’t impact the jobs of the nearly …
Irvine said the combination of signing independent contractor agreements with Refrigerated and truck leases with Central Leasing Inc. trucks gave the company control over the drivers’ livelihood. “To the extent drivers are given control over certain operational decisions, the economic realities of having to make the lease payments and meeting other expenses that respondents have shifted to claimants makes such control, as claimants assert, illusory,” he wrote.