Suit Accuses Swift of Underpaying Truckers

Suit Accuses Swift of Underpaying Truckers

Swift Transportation faces a class-action lawsuit alleging the nation's largest truckload carrier underpaid its truck drivers for at least a dozen years.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge J. Richard Gama ruled Nov. 4 a lawsuit filed against Phoenix-based Swift in 2004 may proceed as a class-action suit.

The suit claims that by basing per-mile pay on mileages calculated by software rather than actual miles driven, Swift underpaid drivers 7 to 10 percent.

By The Numbers: U.S. Truck Shipping Costs.

The class in the case encompasses all drivers and owner-operators who worked for Swift on or after Jan. 30, 1998. Leonel Garza is the lead plaintiff in the case.

Swift owns about 12,300 tractors and contracts with about 3,800 owner-operators.

The lawsuit itself took a circuitous route through Arizona's legal system, from the county court to the Arizona Supreme Court and back to the county court.

Swift, which had about $2.6 billion in revenue in 2009, is the largest truckload carrier in the U.S. when ranked by revenue. The company, which is in the midst of an initial public offering, lost $76.1 million in the first six months of 2010.

-- Contact William B. Cassidy at wcassidy@joc.com.