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Laid Off Truckers Rally, Allege 'Shady Business Practices'

July 12, 2019 09:32 AM

Almost 100 truck drivers say they were shocked to find out they no longer had jobs or health insurance just days before Thanksgiving. Now they're fighting back, rallying Thursday night in front of Maple Grove trucking company Finish Line Express, although that's not technically the business that laid them off.

The truckers say they were employed by Lakeville Motor Express in Roseville until just a couple of weeks ago. They claim that company shut down but basically became Finish Line Express, because they say the latter company doesn't have a union.

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"It's the exact same owners, exact same trucks, exact same trailers, exact same freight. It's just the people that built the company are no longer working there," explained Teamsters Local 120 Secretary-Treasurer Bill Wedebrand.

Union officials also say the company just barely skirted state law, which says businesses must notify employees and the state before laying off more than 100 people. In this case officials say approximately 90 people lost their jobs, just below that 100 person cutoff.

"It's harsh. We've been just struggling to figure out how we're going to make the house payment in December, and obviously right before the holidays, Christmas, and Thanksgiving wasn't very fun at all," explained Shane Thompson, who said he has worked at Lakeville Motor Express for the past 14 years.

Now the state is stepping in, specifically helping employees who say they're still owed their last two weeks of pay.

"That's just wrong," Lt. Gov. Tina Smith said at Thursday night's rally. "It's really the same thing as stealing from these workers, and I'm here today to tell them that I'm noticing this and we're going to do everything we can to make sure that they get paid the money that they're owed."

Until then, it'll be a trying holiday season for families like Thompson's.

"I'm looking for a new job. Just trying to figure out what we're going to do next."

Neither Finish Line Express nor Lakeville Motor Express responded to repeated requests for comment, which were made both in-person and over the phone.

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Credits

Josh Rosenthal

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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