Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jobless in Tulsa

A recent letter from Marshall Stapp from Oklahoma City painted an agonizing scene of shock at Tulsa-based Arrow Trucking as the word was given to cease operations.

Stapp was a driver and trainer for Arrow. He witnessed the collapse.

Several days before Christmas, he was at the Flying J in Tulsa, headed to pick up a load in Laredo. He tried to fuel up but his fuel card was inactive. The fuel desk told Stapp the Arrow computers were down.

At first, it made no sense. “I asked, how can that be?” he wrote to OOIDA in an account of that day. “How am I going to get this load?”

Stapp called his driver-manager to let her know of the situation. He described her as “upset,” telling him to wait there. After three hours, Stapp called his customer to see if the load had canceled. They said no. Soon, he got a call from his DM and she told him to bring the trailer and tractor back to the yard. Stapp was incredulous. He asked her “is something wrong? Am I fired?” She said no, just come back to the terminal.

When he got back to the terminal, he saw people scattered, talking. It was Tuesday morning.

“I proceeded to the safety and log personnel, everyone was taking things off the wall and packing things in little boxes. I asked driver-trainer manager what was going on? She said ‘not so good.’ ”

Stapp was told “whatever you’re thinking, triple it and it’s true. OMG, I told her, you mean …? And she said yes.”

Stapp spent the night in his truck. The next morning he was parked at the QuikTrip off of I-44 and as he got out to buy coffee, he saw Arrow trucks being towed into a gate just west of the QT. Stapp was shocked.

He drove over to the terminal and was even more surprised to see tow trucks hooking up one after another. Stapp tells he had little money and no paycheck for the last week he worked.

“It was a nightmare. The television crew across the street, people crying and hugging – I went to my truck and got my things out before they came and towed mine.”

As he says in his poignant letter describing the last day – the scene was something he will never forget.

9 comments:

  1. My heart & prayers(be it, not much) go out to all these hardworking people from Arrow who lost their jobs and livelihood. I sit back & read these blogs with questions in my head as to why or how this could happen in this way from such a large company. My concerns are as an outsider therefore I know I can not even imagine the pain from those involved. I hope that they all find a way to push past this awful situation and come out on the other side much better than before the horrendous downfall of their company.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This whole situation is mind boggling. I have been treated unfairly by other companies, but never anything close to this. I truly do feel sorry for the drivers.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Double Drop; Look For over a year arrow has had troubles. Just everyone looked the other way. This goes to show you can't haul loads for less than what it costs you. Arrow was noted for hauling flat bed loads from the New England area for 68 cents. I have talked to Arrow drivers who have had fuel card problems for many months. Slow pay checks. The works. Look how shabby the fleet looked over the past 8 to 10 months. Question now to me is; Are other low rate fleets going to go and learn from this, or is it, Well That CAn Not Happen TO Us. Rates below your true operating costs are a sure way to lose.

    ReplyDelete
  4. From an old timer.I do fell your pain. I have been in your shoes some what.I wish there was something I do for each of these unfortunate souls.Bach in the seventies, Schriber, out of Pittsburgh went out owing me a few hundred dollars. There is always a warning before these companies close the doors.If you have a problem getting your money, it should only take one business day to clear it up. Never let any company go beyond a couple of NPD's. Anything beyoud that something is very wrong and they are buying time. 1975, Cherokee Hauling and Rigging got into my pocket for a little over three grand. I was dealing with a Mr.Jommy Legion, and Steve Hancock. After a number of excuses, blaming it on the computer ect, I took action.I don't recomend any driver do what I did.I was given a three stop load of cooling units to deliver. I delivered two,then call Hancock and demanded my money.He only wanted to advance me as usual, $250.00.I took the third unit and put in a bonded warehouse.When I called him and told him I would hold the unit until I got all of my money, he threaten me with ICC,FBI, and anything he could think of. I did not steel the load,the load was in transit. I went trucking. After two or three weeks Mr. legion got involved with his scare tactics. They made all kinds of offers, but none included paying me. I told them they were to send my money to my wife via western union in her name,and send a truck to pick it up. I wanted the full revenue for that particular load included. They had one more trick up thier sleeve. They sent the check in the name of the manger of Virgina Hauling and my wife's. The next morning one last effort was made to deprive me of my money.The manger told my wife to give him the receipt for the unit so the driver could pick it up and be on the way, and when the bank opened he would co sign the check. She said no, let's get the check cashed and then you may have the unit. They went to pick up the unit,and the warehouse clerk handed the manger the storage bill, he turned and gave it to my wife. She politely gave it back and told him to have a nice day.I said a lot to tell any driver, don't let any company get too deep into your pockets before you make a move.They may have been a nice bunch of people, but when there is money troubles they are like a drowning man. That man will grab a leaf to try and prevent himself from going under.In those days OOIDA was a tot. I was a member of FASH. No comparison. Today you have the greatest thing that ever happened to Truck drivers and O.O.s.Mr. Johnson has been there.When he tells you it is no good, you can take that to the bank. Mr. Orr is the only one I know of that had a descent plan for drivers to buy trucks through his plan for beginners and others that had been down on thier luck.

    ReplyDelete
  5. My Husband and myself worked for Arrow in 1999 as team drivers. We did not get rich, but we did see the entire country. I feel that what Arrow did was just heart wrenching and completely wrong. You can not tell me that they did not know for a while that this was going to happen. I am heartbroken for the drivers and their families. Trucking is not the industry to be in right now. Diesel prices are on the rise again and this time I think that this price increase will shut down a whole lot more trucks and drivers. You are all in my thoughts and conversations to other drivers. Keep a positive attitude, hug your families and thank God that you are able to do that. God is on your side.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What will it take for OO's and OOIDA to stand up and demand that all trucking companies ,corporate and independant set a standard minimum rates per mile for acceptable shipping rates and allowable maximum brokerage rates for brokers. Just for example:

    Fuel cost per mile: $0.50
    Min. Rate per mile: x 3
    -------
    Min. Rate per mile: $1.50
    To Carrier

    Add Broker percentage above the minimum rate per mile to be charged to shipper.
    Add any tolls,pallets,lumpers ect. to be charged to shipper.

    At the least we need minimum rates that allow a profit margin to operate a business.

    Can OOIDA help get some industry standards in place, Lets hear from everyone on this issue. I'm just putting an idea out on the table for consideration, we all need to agree and demand change in this industry or we will not have the freedom to own trucks and afford to do business as Owner Operators.

    ReplyDelete
  7. As long as there are drivers and companyies out there that will take those low paying loads, the industry will continue to have this problem. We used to say it way the Mexican companies that were doing this but we see more and more of other independants and companies doing it.


    Drivers you can depend on someone else to fight your battle for you-you have to stand together to stop this problem

    ReplyDelete
  8. Well you know the old saying,A Rate is a Rate and you are what you negotiate.The truck brokers and the larger Trucking company's have been cutting the rates to Long Now.Make the brokers sign a Dis closer agreement with the carrier when setting the rate.What ever the average price of Diesel fuel is at the pump per gallon that is the rate the trucking company's should be Compensated.You Don't see any "BROKERS GOING OUT BUSINESS".

    ReplyDelete
  9. @What most don't know, is,these companies have ways to get around giving the O.O. a fare share of the revenue. Skimming is already illegal, but it continues, and it is some what legal.There are two rates, a billing rate and a truck rate. you are quoted a $1.50 per mile while the company bill the customer $2.00, plus other charges that you never see,insurance surcharges etc. It is kind of hard to make any company do right by it's O.O., but you just need to choose a company that you can live with, and get enough work to make a decent living with. Believe me OOIDA is doing all it can to protect drivers and O.O. Like OOIDA, these company have some heavy weight lawyers,to show them how to get around most legal hurdles.It is no easy task but you can do your part. I hate to say it but, you still can not get two truckers to agree on a course of action. Were you chose to stand for something ten others will use your stance to gain a few measly bucks. CH Robinson was able to survive just for that reason. They charge the shipper $2,000 for a load, and ask you to hall it for $1,2000. I would like to live long enough to see your dream come true. You must keep fighting regardless.

    ReplyDelete

Leave a comment here.