Costco drops truck­ing com­pany

Firm accused of vi­o­lat­ing la­bor rules with its driv­ers

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page -

USA TO­DAY Net­work

Costco, one of the world’s largest re­tail­ers, has stopped do­ing busi­ness with a Cal­i­for­nia truck­ing com­pany accused of trap­ping driv­ers in debt and then us­ing it to force them to work over­time.

The ac­tion comes as brands across the U.S. face in­creased scru­tiny for ig­nor­ing la­bor abuses in their sup­ply lines, a wide­spread prob­lem first re­vealed in a USA TO­DAY Net­work in­ves­ti­ga­tion in June.

Ear­lier this month, four Demo­cratic se­na­tors, led by Sher­rod Brown of Ohio, sent let­ters to 16 re­tail­ers, calling on them to root out “shame­ful” la­bor abuses first out­lined by the USA TO­DAY Net­work.

Soon after, Costco Whole­sale dropped Pa­cific 9 Trans­porta­tion, one of the big­gest port truck­ing com­pa­nies in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

Hewlett-Packard also sent an au­di­tor to in­ves­ti­gate the com­pany’s la­bor prac­tices.

Both re­tail­ers de­clined to com­ment on their ac­tions. Alan Ta, chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer for Pa­cific 9, said that even be­fore Costco with­drew, his com­pany had stopped leas­ing trucks to driv­ers and launched a series of re­forms to im­prove their pay.

“We have made sig­nif­i­cant change in our com­pany and to our in­dus­try,” Ta said in an email.

A wave of pres­sure from re­tail­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers has hit port truck­ing op­er­a­tions across the in­dus­try, ac­cord­ing to driv­ers who say their em­ploy­ers have been field­ing calls from clients.

Those clients in­clude Wal­mart, which pledged in a let­ter re­spond­ing to the se­na­tors that it would can­cel con­tracts with any truck­ing com­pany that did not pro­vide “as­sur­ances” it was fol­low­ing fair la­bor prac­tices.

“The sto­ries pro­filed in that ar­ti­cle are deeply con­cern­ing,” Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent Jay Jor­gensen wrote of the USA TO­DAY Net­work in­ves­ti­ga­tion, “Rigged.”

“Any mo­tor car­rier that fails to com­ply with law, such as those al­leged in the ar­ti­cle, would be in vi­o­la­tion of our con­tract and would there­fore be sub­ject to can­cel­la­tion,” he wrote.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.