I'm currently working for Chizek Transport of Newton, WI. Recently I had a situation arise where my tractor had been in the shop for a full due service at their terminal (always--but this makes sense to me in their circumstances). Then we (the truck and I) ran two days down to Kansas City and back to Eau Claire, WI for repairs to the Tri Pac APU that had been waiting since January. Several times written up for repair at the home terminal but assured that the Tri Pac was too new for them just yet and Thermoking would have to handle it. Another day down in Eau Claire for APU repairs and then off to Duluth and a full day of running to Duluth and Brainerd MN for another pick up. The next day, after 10 in Hudson WI with my newly running APU keeping me cool, I started the day out with a pre-trip and fuel at Hudson, WI, pulled off the T/A premises, onto i94 east bound entry just long enough to get my log updated and completely current for the open scale ahead. I shut the truck off (I promised them no more idle than necessary with the APU fixed and this would be about 10 - 15 minutes). All's good and I'm ready to roll out, turn the key--nothing... No start, no clicking from the solenoid, nothing. And this is an automatic tranny. Figuring I could tap it and unlodge it enough to get going and take it back to the terminal, I beat on the starter with a crow bar a few good ol' West Virginia whacks to no avail. So I called the company shop and explained the dilemma--and that this is the second go around with this problem. I was given the number for T/A and told to call them--which I did and they said it would be about 2 hours before the mechanic could come from the truckstop to the on-ramp (although he could stand out in the parking lot and wave to me), but this is ok because sometimes they're busy and just can't do ten things at once like us truckers... In about 40 minutes the mechanic shows up and beats and bangs on the starter (I was having deja vu, I think), crawls under the truck, connects booster cables, all to no avail. Nothing works. He says he's gotta go back to the shop and call Chizek to see what they want done. About an hour later a tow truck pulls up and the driver came and beat and banged on the starter again (at least it wasn't just me being obessive-compulsive and delusional like I sometimes get over some of the dispatches we receive here). Nothing. Then he suggests if I've got the air pressure to dump my air bags and uncouple so he could tow the tractor--sans trailer due to the scale ahead--to the T/A across the highway. I did and just to see bumped the key once to see if it may just start--which it did. I called Chizek again and explained the situation and was told to take it to the T/A anyhow and have the starter replaced--the shop foreman even told T/A to replace the starter. I spend the rest of the day at the T/A waiting to get into the shop with the tractor running lest I shut it down and have to go through the stage play again. Finally, after a shift change at T/A, a complete battery load test, full electrical wiring check from the battery box to the starter, T/A said "you're done" and direct billed Chizek over $400 for the tow bill, system check, labor etc.
Just yesterday, 8-June-06, I found out that the owner of the company is demanding I pay for the non-repairs to his tractor. I haven't felt like running for him since--and that's why I'm sitting here now writing this. It's the first time I've publicly down-played his company but I have the feeling it won't be the last--and most likely I'll be out the door pretty soon.
Just for the record, I'm driving a 2005 tractor which I treat as if I own it, keeping it clean and orderly all the time. All maintenance issues have been addressed (where some of the drivers in the fleet miss services and don't take care of his equipment). I'm highly obessive-compulsive about the living quarters I have in this truck and act accordingly. I do not willfully damage his equipment and I have in the past accidentally damaged cosmetic parts like dash trim and such and have replaced it, turning in the damaged part and a copy of the receipt for their records. Not cheap but also something I sleep better knowing I've done.
I guess at this point I have to tell them in Human Resources that I won't be handling any repair work on the road any longer. Nor will I touch any repair documents with my bare hands (either latex gloves or tweezers for any paperwork) and absolutely no signatures of mine on anything that has to do with repairs to his truck. No more phone calls other than to the company to tell them of the breakdown.
Funny, but in this situation, with a name like Chizek (pronounced Chee-zik) the only thing missing is the "D"...
Chizek Transport, Inc. - Newton, Wi.
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He can't force you to pay for the repair/parts. If he tries to take money out of your next check, simply go to the labor board office in Madison and file a "wage claim" against him. You'll get your money.
When I first started driving trucks, I was a scared rabbit. Something like this would have me cowering. Today, I know how to stand up for myself. I'd love to be in your shoes right now, really. I like taking down "tough-guy" trucking company owners/managers. Yeah, if I were you, I'd be looking forward to that road trip to Madison.
But for now just assume he's ultra-pissed off at this truck and is venting on you. Lay low and hope you have no other problems with this thing. Maybe this storm will pass. But maybe he'll take a 400-dollar chunk out of your next check. I had that happen to me once while working for a company in Ontario, California. One phone call to the San Bernardino labor office, one filled-out form, and about three weeks waiting got me my money.
If I were you, I'd quietly start looking for another job somewhere. Asking a driver to pay for repairs is lame and very unprofessional, at least in my opinion. If you've been making your deliveries on time, every time, your boss should be thanking his lucky stars. You're keeping his customers happy, after all. He definitely needs to appreciate you more, sounds like it to me. Yeah, you should dump this lemon of a company.
After you quit, he may THEN try to screw you on the 400. No problem. Just file that wage claim against him. Watch your DAC if you do, assuming he's one of those DAC cats.
It's not the first time he's done this kind of thing. It's standard business for this company--mind you I don't think it's professional either.
I like standing up to the money bags types myself and he's finding out that being a home-grown, inbred West Virginian makes me just red enough in the neck to stand my ground.
There've been several instances in the past of these charges being sent back to the drivers. Again if it were deliberate negligence I could see it AND it would stand up per se in court. Funny thing, he's scratching the bottom of the barrell for drivers lately and it's showing. Good customer are nearly always pissed at all of us, etc. Primarily the only reason I'm hanging on is I'm making some serious money overall--and out of respect to a couple of guys who work here, see this stuff going on and do their best to stop it when they can (I've worked with these guys in the past and we kind of have a very good centralized working relationship). So it's primarily ownership and not really so much middle management.
In the meantime, I am looking and hoping that a friend gets his USAC Sprint Car sponsorship in place. If it goes through I'm off to drive a transporter.
""Just yesterday, 8-June-06, I found out that the owner of the company is demanding I pay for the non-repairs to his tractor.""
To begin with the bill is paid by whos name is on the title, the driver is not responsible for the repairs, period end of subject.
If the owner tries to nail you for the repairs either take it to the labor commission or take it to small claims court, either way you'll get your money back...
your boss is an ###..........
a driver never pays for repairs..............unless..............you deliberatly caused the damage, like for instance, you cut wires (vandlized) or you slashed the tires, get it, YOU CAUSED THE PROBLEM. by the truck breaking down on its own (do they do this....of course) then the company pays, and in full. the shop foreman gave permission for the repairs. maybe the mechanic at the T/A saw that the starter was fine, (you don't mention he replaced it), but labor charges still apply, afterall, someone actually worked on the truck, and the tow bill. your boss is pissed off because a starter was not replaced for that money, and he probably knows that it'll break down again, and maybe the starter is bad.
find another job, never pay for repairs, unless YOU CAUSED THE PROBLEM, and "owe-up" to what YOU DID, and accept responsibility for YOUR ACTIONS.
Any deduction taken from a pay check that is not authorized is subject to be returned, but you often will have to sue to get it. If they take it from your check, and you have not given them written permission to deduct it, and if they refuse to return it to you when demanded to do so, will probably require you to file suit against them to get it.
It is a violation of Federal law to make unauthorized deductions from an employee's paycheck, but most employers get away with it, because not many will go to the lengths to see that it is returned, when taken in that fashion.
Small claims courts are the best avenue, when this occurs, and no lawyer is required to argue the case.
Someone mentioned above to contact your local employment/labor department, and although there are rare cases where they will attempt to resolve the issue, in most cases they will not intervene. It's considered a civil matter in most states.
I have a question, that I didnt see answered here, hope I didn't miss it somewhere.
You, the driver, was told to have the starter replaced. While this isn't your truck, you are expected to treat it like it is your own. You get a copy of the workorder/invoice to send in with the rest of your paperwork.
It states on there what it done, or at least an amount for labor and parts.
When a starter wasn't replaced, did you contact roadside assistance, or the shop foreman to ask what to do? If you were sent to get the starter replaced, first off, there should not have been a charge for diagnostics. They should have just replaced the starter. If that didn't happen, you should have been back on the phone with the shop and asked what to do at that point. Most likely the problem would have been addressed then and their. The company depends on you to make sure they are screwed over out on the road.
I am new here, and may sound like a jerk, but I have been a company driver, O/O, and worked on these things. If you were told to get a starter replaced, and a stater was not replaced, and you left without further contact, then I feel you are responsible for the bill.
At the same time, if you did contact the shop before leaving, and they said to go, then you are in the right here. And through experience, I would have then contacted dispatch and told them what I was being told to do, first because I would be covering my rear on the situation that happened, second, because there would be a chance of getting charged with a late delivery if I knew there were mechanical problems still possible and I didn't contact dispatch to warn them.
i think that if a driver has repairs done "without" company authority, then maybe he should be paying the bill, but, the company "authorized" the replacement starter, so that, they were aware of. i have seen instances of "un-authorized repairs" that the company got stuck with the repair bill and had absolutely no knowledge the driver was the one "authorizing" the repairs, without company permission or knowledge, like the instance that comes to my mind, air-conditioning repairs. a former co-worker while on the road had his a/c break down, back then, he had the repairs made on the road, no company authorized was issued, as the company was unaware of this repair. when the company recieved the bill via the company credit card, he was forced to reimburse the company 100%........and he couldn't say squat.
now, had he followed "proper proceedure" the repairs would have been fully covered.
when drivers take things into their "own hands", the they should accept the responsibility to make things right.
when a company "authorizes repairs, then the company accepts full responsibility.
bottom line, i think is to move onto another trucking company that may actually appreciate this driver who thought of the truck as his own, kept it clean and orderly, and kept an eye on maintenance. not all drivers give a flip for company property like this guy did/does.
The issue here though, is the driver was sent to get a starter replaced. No diagnosis necessary. He left with a tow bill, diagnostic charges, and no starter replaced. The workorder would show whether the starter was replaced or not. the question lies within whether he contacted the shop before leaving or not. If you are told to get a starter replaced, and a starter isnt replaced, you dont need to be leaving without company authorization.
Perhaps something I didn't make clear in this issue was 1) I was instructed by our home shop to contact the T/A for repairs. 2) Never informed that a tow truck had been approved by my company after a subsequent conversation between the carrier's shop and the T/A shop. 3) Told to put the truck in the shop anyway and have the starter replaced.
As a follow up adjunct to the 3rd point: once the truck is in the shop and repairs have been affected or in this case diagnosis is made and reported back to my carrier, the ultimate decision to do or not do lies with our shop. That is to say our shop does not issue checks for payment in this kind of circumstance to any driver even for minor business like tire repairs. Those payments are made directly to the service facility by the on-duty person in the company's shop. In this instance the repair order and final summation were faxed directly to our shop without me having to touch any documents or conduct any other phone conversations. Everything is handled in-house once the truck is in the maintenance facility shop. Essentially, someone else signed off on the completion of the work.
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