Rene Flores was fired from his job as a port truck driver hauling shipping containers from Long Beach to Phoenix for Morgan Southern following an interview in which Flores spoke of his frustration.
Flores says he had to work the long hours in order to actually earn any money, saying his company paid very little and charged so much for his leased truck. The trucks are so expensive — up to several thousand dollars a month for payments and maintenance — that some drivers interviewed say they have no choice but to work 15 to 20 hours a day.
When Morgan Southern fired him, Flores says he couldn’t afford to pay off the $30,000 balance on his leased truck, so the company took that too. Flores then lost the $60,000 in payments he had made over 4 years.
Flores says his employer knew he was driving more hours than his log book showed but they looked the other way. Morgan Southern denies this, but does acknowledge Flores’ comments to USA Today led to his firing.
Robert Milane, a spokesman and lawyer for Morgan Southern’s parent company, Roadrunner Transportation, confirmed that Flores’ public criticism, coupled with the fact that he refused to use electronic logbooks, forced the company to act.
“The fact that he stated that in his interview, we had no choice to terminate his lease,” Milane said. “He brought this on himself.”
Another Morgan Southern driver, Jose Juan Rodriguez, told reporters in December that when he was still leasing his truck he, too, often drove well past the legal limit. “Many times,” he said, “we complain to the supervisor but we’re told that if we aren’t willing to work, ‘there is the door.’ ”