Drivers Score Victory In Werner Class Action Case

Topic 9988 | Page 1

Page 1 of 2 Next Page Go To Page:
Anchorman's Comment
member avatar

A federal judge’s recent rulings in a driver pay case involving a class of thousands of drivers who participated in Werner Enterprise’s Student Driver Program found that the company failed to pay its drivers for sleeper berth time and short rest breaks.

The findings set the stage for a trial in September to determine damages owed to a class of thousands of Werner drivers who participated in the driver training program for up to three years prior to the initial filing of the class action suit on Sept. 14, 2011.

According to the initial collective class action complaint filed on behalf of plaintiff Philip Petrone and other similarly situated drivers, Werner Enterprises and its subsidiary driver training program, Drivers Management LLC, violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by intentionally failing to compensate the class members for wages earned while in the company’s employment.

Petrone’s suit alleges he was enrolled in Werner’s Student Driver Program, a mandatory six- to eight-week course for new hires. While in the program, the company violated Nebraska labor laws by failing to pay plaintiffs the minimum wage for hours they worked. Specifically, the suit alleges that drivers were cheated out of funds due to them for rest breaks and meals. 

The suit was transferred later that year to Nebraska, where Werner’s corporate headquarters are located. It was certified as a class action on Dec. 19, 2012, and includes all drivers who participated in the company’s over-the-road training program three years prior to the 2011 filing date of Petrone’s original motion. 

In his ruling on Aug. 3, U.S. District Court Judge Lyle E. Strom held that Werner violated state and federal law with its sleeper berth and rest break policies. 

“Werner’s policy for short rest periods on its face complied with the law,” the judge wrote in his ruling. “However, in practice Werner did not compensate student drivers for short rest periods under 20 minutes logged Line 1 on the Qualcomm system. As a result, the Court will grant the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment on the issue of short rest breaks.”

Attorneys at Swartz Swidler, an employment law firm in Cherry Hill, N.J., posted an update about the case on their website on Aug. 7, touting the judge’s ruling as “a major victory.” According to the statement on the website, the upcoming trial will also decide whether Werner’s conduct was reasonable and in good faith. If the trial determines the company acted in bad faith, double damages may be awarded and the company could be compelled to pay an additional damage award into a fund to benefit Nebraska schools. -

See more at: http://www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryID=29648#.Vde6m2YpBoN

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.
Phox's Comment
member avatar

I thought truck drivers were exempt from min wage laws... must be a Nebraska thing maybe?

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

Paid for rest breaks and sleeper berth time? Paid when your not actually working? WTF? How the hell does that work?

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar

Paid for rest breaks and sleeper berth time? Paid when your not actually working? WTF? How the hell does that work?

Walmart drivers paved this path with their sleeper berth class action. It ain't over till the fat lady sings. There are still appeals available to both Werner and Walmart. I think it's ridiculous, but you never know what a judge thinks till they make a ruling. There are more judges to go, if either company appeals.

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Guyjax wonders if he's in the same universe:

Paid for rest breaks and sleeper berth time? Paid when your not actually working? WTF? How the hell does that work?

The news release says:

However, in practice Werner did not compensate student drivers for short rest periods under 20 minutes logged Line 1 on the Qualcomm system. As a result, the Court will grant the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment on the issue of short rest breaks.

The paid for breaks are "under 20 minutes", like your 15 minute break in the shop. The company pays those on your clock, but the 30 minute lunch time is on your own. And "summary judgment" means the judge will make his own decision.

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

Guyjax wonders if he's in the same universe:

double-quotes-start.png

Paid for rest breaks and sleeper berth time? Paid when your not actually working? WTF? How the hell does that work?

double-quotes-end.png

The news release says:

double-quotes-start.png

However, in practice Werner did not compensate student drivers for short rest periods under 20 minutes logged Line 1 on the Qualcomm system. As a result, the Court will grant the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment on the issue of short rest breaks.

double-quotes-end.png

The paid for breaks are "under 20 minutes", like your 15 minute break in the shop. The company pays those on your clock, but the 30 minute lunch time is on your own. And "summary judgment" means the judge will make his own decision.

Oh I know what it means. What is going to happen is more than likely this will go through and those "little short" breaks will start being paid BUT!!!!! ,I can almost guarantee that the "breaks" will no longer be able to be logged "off duty". It will be a become company policy that all "paid breaks" must be logged as "on-duty" in order to be considered for pay roll THEREFORE......will start using more of your 70 hours which in the end will equal less drive time available for the week.

According to the my understanding of the FMCSA HOS rules all time that you are being paid must be logged in either a On-Duty Not Driving status or an On_duty - Driving status and will equal less available drive time.Not since there will be less drive time available that will extend their training period longer cause they will still need to have a minimum set of hours driven to complete their training. I believe that current standard is 240 hours of drive time or there about. Now they will stay on the truck with a trainer longer.

I can't see this going through once the appeal stage has begun because that will go against the FMCSA HOS rules and automatically throw those drivers into a falsification of logs cause they are going to be paid for "breaks less than 20 minutes" that were logged as "off duty breaks" or as "sleeper berth breaks" which the FMCSA says ANY!!! time you are being paid for work needs to be logged in the correct status.

Who knows how this will turn out but I see this is a bad move for future driver trainees but in this day and age people want to be paid for doing absolutely nothing.

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar
It will be a become company policy that all "paid breaks" must be logged as "on-duty" in order to be considered for pay roll

Recently I read the rules for Detention pay at Swift. To earn Detention pay the driver must be logged in as On Duty (Not Driving) Line 4 to wait out the 2 hour delay. Few drivers will do that - they'll go Sleeper & sack out. The Line 4 is the one that goes against your total 70 hours drive and Line 2 (Sleeper) won't.

You are right, GuyJax - the less On Duty Not Driving you are able to log, the more chance you have to Drive and make money.

Lyynk's Comment
member avatar

What could this mean for a perspective driver for Werner? I have a pre-hire from Werner after I get out of CDL school

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

Will probably mean nothing for at least a few years due to the appeal process. As to what exact changes it will make in Werner's student trainer program there is no telling. I would not worry about it right now.If you go through training with Werner this will take place ,if at all, well after you complete training.

Tracey D.'s Comment
member avatar

" The Line 4 is the one that goes against your total 70 hours drive and Line 2 (Sleeper) won't. The less On Duty Not Driving you are able to log, the more chance you have to Drive and make money. "

Just wondering what the difference in paycheck would be between line 4 and line 2?

Page 1 of 2 Next Page Go To Page:

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More