A fleet’s demise: Drivers jobless, some stranded; support and help offered

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A fleet’s demise: Drivers jobless, some stranded; support and help offered

Falcon Transport’s sudden shutdown brings reactions from politicians and others.

It’s a trucker’s nightmare scenario. Driving alone, far from home, when told via email that they are suddenly unemployed and ordered to abandon their truck.

Unfortunately that is exactly how it played out for many drivers who worked for Youngstown, OH-based Falcon Transport Co., which shut down and laid off about 550 employees on April 26.

No reason was given for the closing by Falcon Transport’s owner, Los Angeles-based CounterPoint Capital Partners, which acquired it in October 2017.

Falcon employees all received the following email or text message, with no prior warning:

We regret to inform you that Falcon Transport Co. is not able to continue operations and will be shutting down effective today. Please stop any work you are doing for the company immediately. You are not expected to return to work. Please be on the lookout for further information we will be sending regarding this situation.

Founded in 1903, Falcon was family owned, providing flatbed and OTR services for companies that included GM, Ford and U.S. Steel. One major contract was with GM in Lordstown, OH, which made the Chevrolet Cruze and other models. GM closed the plant in March of this year in a company restructuring that included eliminating the Cruze, Volt and Impala cars.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed by some former Falcon employees, claiming a violation of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification

(WARN) Act requiring firms with more than 100 employees to give 60 or more days’ notice before shutting down. Falcon Transport and CounterPoint Capital are named as co-defendants.

A similar trucking company shutdown and WARN action occurred in March with New England Motor Freight. That lawsuit was settled out of court.

The Asian Mai Show, which posts trucking videos on YouTube, included one on the Falcon Transport situation. Interviews included with former employees were typical of the sad and sudden situation.

Former dispatcher Nicole Rupert worked for Falcon for four years.

“My fiancé worked there as well so we’re both out of work,” she said. “My best friend worked there, and my future mother-in-law, so we’re all in the same boat.”

A lot of Falcon’s drivers worked locally, so they were close to home when they got the news, but not all company truckers were so fortunate.

“I am in Toms Brook, Virginia,” said Oliver Ford. “I’m just going to leave the truck here. I don’t have a job. The company’s out of business. Apparently they don’t care about us. So hey, your truck’s in Toms Brook, Virginia. Go get it.”

Politicians weigh in

On the Senate Floor in Washington, D.C. April 29, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) urged President Trump to stand up for auto jobs in Ohio as Falcon Transport closed. President Trump had promised the Ohio Valley that auto jobs would return to the region.

“I’m calling on the President, maybe you should try keeping your promises, maybe you should actually fight for autoworkers, maybe you should actually stand up and support workers up and down the auto supply chain for a change. End the tax cut for corporations,” Brown said.   

“This is another example of how our system is rigged. It’s infuriating that this economy continues to gut working-class wallets while management attempts to cut their way to prosperity,” said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, (D-OH). “We got bailout money for every bank that wants one, every savings and loan. Every corporation gets a tax cut to the tune of $2.3 trillion, and no one gives a damn about the workers. If we could bail out the corporations that have done everything wrong, we can start helping the workers who have done everything right.”

Reaching out to help

Comments from people seeing the YouTube video included sympathies, information, job offers and more, showing that truckers understand that what happened to Falcon drivers can happen to them. The posts include the following (personal info deleted):

  • If anyone that works for Falcon Transport Company needs help in any way, text me. Wishing the best for all truck drivers that are affected by this situation.
  • If there are any former Falcon driver's stranded at a New York state truck stop all they gotta do is call my cell phone number, notify me the name of the truck stop they’re stranded at and I'll gladly fill my Dodge Dart up with gas and then go pick the driver up and give him a ride home.
  • Just sad!! Blessings go out to all employees and their families as well. When one door closes another door opens.
  • Jaro Transportation Services, Inc. in Warren, OH and Springfield, TN is hiring drivers affected by the closing of Falcon Transport. Jaro wants all Falcon employees to know that we are saddened by the closing. At the end of the day, we have all been raised in the Steel Valley and it hurts when any business in the Valley closes. You are our family, friends, and neighbors. If there is anything we can do to help you, please call in. We have positions open in our shop and for drivers.
  • (a question) If the trucker still has fuel in the truck, what’s stopping him from driving as far as he can to get to the nearest terminal or home?
  • (answer) Pretty good chance the trucks aren’t insured any more. The driver is liable for anything that may go wrong while driving. A bad situation to be in.  The DOT will suspend a driver's CDL for driving an uninsured truck. I wouldn't chance it.
  • Anyone interested driving OTR contact Freestyle Trucking. Tell them you’re from Falcon and start driving ASAP! Been with them for 5 years and couldn’t be happier.
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