Court certifies driver pay lawsuit against Swift as class action

By CCJ Staff on

A superior court judge has ruled that a lawsuit accusing Phoenix-based Swift Transportation of routinely shorting its drivers in pay will move forward as a class action, a Seattle-based law firm announced Friday, Nov. 5.

Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro – which represents whistleblowers, investors and consumers – says the case claims that rather than paying drivers on actual miles driven, Swift Transportation calculates mileage using a software program that, on average, underpays drivers by 7 percent to 10 percent. The lawsuit alleges breach of contract for not paying the correct amount and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing based on the truckload giant’s adoption of a system that underpays drivers.

Hagens Berman says Maricopa County Superior Court Judge J. Richard Gama ruled late Thursday, Nov. 5, that the class for the case against Swift Transportation encompasses “all persons in the United States, including those who were employed by Swift as employee drivers on or after Jan. 30, 1998, or contracted with Swift as owner-operator drivers on or after Jan. 30, 1998, who were compensated by Swift by reference to miles driven.”

Hagens Berman says the court also certified a subclass defined as “all persons who contracted with Swift Transportation with a Contractor Agreement East Coast” as of Dec. 14, 2001. In addition, the court certified lead plaintiff Leonel Garza to represent the class.

Hagens Berman says the lawsuit initially was filed against Swift Transportation in early 2004, but the motion to certify it as a class action initially was denied by a Maricopa County Superior Court judge. The judge’s decision was appealed by its plaintiffs’ attorneys, and the Arizona Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s decision.

The appellate court’s decision to certify the suit against Swift Transportation as a class action, however, then was overturned by the Arizona Supreme Court on procedural grounds. The Arizona Supreme Court held that the appellate court lacked the jurisdiction to review the decision by the trial court not to certify the suit as a class action.

The case was sent back to the Maricopa County Superior Court, where attorneys for Garza and the class filed a renewed motion to have it certified as a class action, which the court granted Thursday, Nov. 5.

17 comments
ralph jimenez
ralph jimenez

i worked for swift from:1999 to:2005 as a company driver and became an owner opr. i was very loyal to the company and now i learned that swift had been short changing thier drivers. i would like to know any informatiom that could benifit me with this matter.
please contact me at (210)777-6257 or by e-mailing me at
rjimenez8752@yahoo.com thank you very much for your time and patience. ralph jimenez

pissed@swift
pissed@swift

swift doesnt tell the truth about anything,its all lies.they tell you after every year of service you get stuff like a belt buckle,service awards,patches and pins.just ask the drivers if the ever got thiers and they`ll tell you nope,never did.they`ll tell you after 3 years of being an owner op you`ll get a raise based on your driver ranking.i am a five star driver(never late,no accidents) and i got the same 1\2 a cent raise(loaded miles only) that 2 star drivers get.1\2 a cent can you believe that? that adds up to about $500 a year.and thats after they took 1 cent a mile away from the fuel surcharge so im still 1/2 a cent short from when i first started.they also said for every quarter that you maintain a 4 and/or 5 star ranking you will get a hat or tshirt.that message that was posted on the kiosk somehow disappeared after about 18 months.nobody ever got hats or tshirts.

BobK
BobK

Seems like it would have been smarter for Swift to increase the mileage they pay by 5% while decreasing the pay per mile by 5%. They end up with the same cost, but at least it is "truth-in-advertising."

D Long
D Long

There is a huge difference between Actual and Computed miles. On occasion we have had to use Google to locate an address and the miles to drive were accurate to within .25 of a mile. Yet the miles paid for the trip were a minimum of 5% less on the Preplan and were paid at the lower number on the settlement.

Swift is NOT the only carrier doing this!

We are stil contracted to Swift with two trucks and two drivers. If/when the actual settlement on the back pay is ever made, we stand to receive quite a check. However, there is still a lot of work to do to get to that point.

This suit encompasses company drivers, O/Os, and contract drivers who were with Swift from 1998. We have one driver who has been with them since 1999 and the other from mid-2000. Both turned O/O in 2004.

Up until quite recently, our settlements simply stated "miles". Now the miles are described as "PRACTICAL" miles. Amazing, eh?

If this settlement comes about, we will be laughing all the way to the bank..... LOL

tony
tony

I worked for swift from 9/04 to 2/09 i only did my 30 days company rest was a glorified company driver or what they call an owner operator/lease operator on my last lease reached balloon payment but miles were ridiculous was making more than 1500 mi a week according to them it was bad times but new lease drivers didn't seem to be having the same problem with miles i don't know if i was ripped off but sure felt like it. Since law suit started i've been trying to sign up does any one know wich law firm or lawyer is working on the case against swift please let me know thxs.

Richard Cawley
Richard Cawley

I drove for swift in 2009 for over three months and never saw a real paycheck...I was due over 4000 dollars that was never given, how do you apply to get associated with the lawsuit against swift?

leslie
leslie

my husband and i drive for swift and are shorted at least 25 miles every trip. we did not sign on to the law suite because we are still currently employed with swift.
what i was wondering is if anyone knows the % of miles the company is allowed to be off. my husband thought it was 5% but i cant find that written any where.
its is not right that we are not allowed to claim the time driven, that is time off our logs, those miles are added to our extra monthly fee for over mileage charge on our lease. etc. it is not fair that we are not allowed to claim that as a business lose on our taxes. something needs to be done...thanks for letting me vent

tim scheer
tim scheer

Instead of complaining about how swift and other trucking companies pay it is easier to quit and sign on with a carrier that pays hub miles. That is what I did. I drive a two year old truck and make 40 cpm and average 3100 miles a week pulling hopper bottoms.

Tracy
Tracy

My Husband and I drive team for a large company. Most companies use what is called HHG, or household movers guide, miles. They call it practical miles now. This equates to shortage of paid miles. For example, one trip we do is 2198 miles round trip actual driving miles, it is paid at 1964 miles. A difference of 234 miles, or 10.6%. So we are giving them 234 miles, roughly four hours of our driving, for free. In the last year plus that we've driven with them, almost every trip has been short miled by 6 to sometimes even 12%. Average is about 8%. So of the 306,000 miles that we have put on our truck, and being generous about what we've put on for personal use, we have given them over 24,000 miles free. I hate to break it to them, but my GPS, Microsoft Streets and Trips, and Google Maps can all come up with exact mileage, yet they can't? It's time for all carriers to UPDATE their mileage calculations. And for those who say PC Miler, I used to work in an office in a short haul trucking company. We used PC Miler. Then I'd get my happy butt on to Google and get a comparison mileage. Always a difference. When my drivers would drive a new run for the first time and track the mileage for me, PC was wrong and Google was right.

Jeff
Jeff

Blackjack, maybe some lanes are different, but we get get billed 3033 miles to bring a load here from the West. The same Swift trucks bring the loads in and the driver that is here right now ( a regular) says he gets paid 3033 miles. Maybe you are confusing hub miles with billable miles ?

Tom Zuppke
Tom Zuppke

As mentioned in an earlier posting, I truly believed I was subjected to each and every one of the ways to short a driver while a company driver f/SWIFT. All their outstanding qualities were in the equipment and fuel support categories, but, as an example, you would get a trip based on the facts presented by your handler, but, there would be undisclosed detours, for various reasons, the most common would be to fuel or service @ a company facility, but the additional mileage wasn't included in the bid nor allowed in the settlement. When I first returned from a yr w/military, I spent several weeks traveling around repossessing tractors from disillusioned drivers...shortage on trip pay was the most frequent reason a driver would quit...they wouldn't even return the tractor to their home terminal.
The mileage problem got worst when drivers started getting their own laptops with milege programs that quite obviously were
contrary to the company's.
Where do I sign up for the lawsuit?
TZ SWIFT - 2000-04.

Blackjack
Blackjack

Sorry Jeff, you're wrong. I've been driving since '88. I've been an Owner Op the last 6. All my other years were as a company driver.

I spoke with a dispatcher about the disparity in my paid,versus actual miles. This is what he said:

"The software computes the mileage for the trip. Then it takes OFF
5-7% for the paid miles. This is to "protect" the truck. I don't agree with it, but it's the way management does it."

I then told him "On coast-to-coast trips, that can be 3-4 hours of FREE labor for the company. If you had to give up 3-4 hours of free
labor a week, how long would you work there?" He said "Not long!"

I quit, but it doesn't make it right to rob people of their labor.

Why is it that some companies out there that do go by actual miles, while others steal from the drivers?

This lawsuit is a long time coming in my opinion.

Gordon
Gordon

John. Not all software programs are created to short the drivers miles.
Many carriers us PC miler and it is pretty darn accurate. I use it and seldom beat it.
PC miler can be set to give short miles or non toll or many other ways of reaching the total miles of a trip including stops.

Just think for a minute how many dollars the company gets to keep if every trip was shorted 5%. Driver shorted 5 %. It can add up to millions a year depending on the size of the carrier.
No law can tell a carrier which program to use.

Not to be a kill joy, but many drivers hear of problems like these and go to work the the carrier anyway.
Lets face it, Carriers like Swift, England and a few others do put to work newbies right out of school.

Without these carriers many new drivers would have a CDL that they could not use. These carriers make more money with new drivers due to Gvt grants, low mileage pay and other incentives that many carriers would not do.
Hopefully this suit will clear the air and help standardize the system.

Jeff
Jeff

The number of miles that are used to bill to a customer are the same for calculating driver pay. It would be one thing to bill 100 miles and pay a driver for 93, but the drivers are are paid 100 as well. It is my understanding that the process uses zip codes edge to edge so it ends up a bit less than actual driven miles. This is the same across the board with just about every carrier in the business. Next suit will be airline pilots suing over headwinds that make some trips longer.

Matt
Matt

Software programs are common in the industry, but I am not aware of any that purposely short drivers of their miles driven. Our software is +/- .005% of recorded hub miles.
What is more accurate, a hubodometer, odometer, or GPS, and what is the base for the comaparison, hub or odometer?

John
John

Driver pay issues such as the one taken against Swift should also be taken up against all carriers who use a software program to arrive at incorrect millage. Swift is not alone in doing this, it is common in the entire industry.

Chris
Chris

I have worked for Swift since 12/04 and in that time I have been a company driver, ECT(night)dispatcher, a driver recruiter, a driver manager(dispatcher) and now an owner operator. As part of the management team and recruiter I saw the variances and was allowed by terminal management to override the system should there be a wide variance in the miles dispatched and the actual miles driven.

I was told by management that the system they use Rand-McNally HHMG, was a business decision on their part. This business decision is based solely on lining the pockets of Jerry Moyes and the share holders of Swift Transportation.

Like you I have computer software that allows me to route myself from point to point as well as a GPS system. These give me my actual and practical miles and this difference allows me to calculate my time on each trip. There is no reason on earth that Swift cannot update their dispatch system to pay us for actual or practical miles driven. As an owner operator they use it to calculate our road miles driven for fuel tax purposes yet only pay us for "Swift" or "Air" miles driven. So which is it?

Get involved and get rewarded!!!