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TSQ: What would be your biggest concern if your employer was bought out?

MILTON, Ont. – It’s a sign of the post-recession era that many trucking companies have fallen on hard times financially, prompting a significant number of restructurings, mergers and acquisitions and even bankruptcies.


MILTON, Ont. – It’s a sign of the post-recession era that many trucking companies have fallen on hard times financially, prompting a significant number of restructurings, mergers and acquisitions and even bankruptcies.

Major players like TransForce and Contrans have been snatching up carriers left, right and centre, while prominent companies like MacKinnon Transport have been forced to refocus their business through financial restructuring (see cover story for more details).

But where does this trend towards consolidation leave drivers? New ownership can lead to a plethora of changes, including changes to rates, routes and benefits, and, in some cases, drivers can find themselves kicked to the curb. Is industry uncertainty weighing heavily on their minds?

We spoke with drivers at the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Milton, Ont. to find out what their biggest concerns would be if their employer were bought out.


Isaak Bergen, a driver with Rex Trucking out of St. Thomas, Ont., says he fears all the recent mergers will mean “a bunch of giants” (will be) running the country.

“The more that merge, the less competition there is and you have no right to do anything, just do as they tell you,” he says.  
Bergen says he’d be concerned whether he would continue to have good runs and make decent money in the event of a buy-out, but the combination of mergers and cutbacks these days have truckers merely “surviving.”  


Tom Craig, a company driver with Bruce R. Smith, a carrier that filed for creditor protection back in 2009, but emerged a year later, says the company’s situation hasn’t changed despite its past financial troubles.

But does the threat of a buy-out weight on his mind?

“For now, no,” he says. “I know other companies have merged like TransForce…(but here) John (Smith) is still running the
business.”

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Gregory DeVaughn, a driver with Steven’s Transport out of Dallas, Texas, says he’d be worried about his job security in the event of a buy-out.

“I’m not sure I’d have a job, because once they get bought out, there’s a tendency for a lot of change, a lot of shake-up,” he told Truck News.

“I’ve been with Steven’s a few years now and they have a good reputation; they seem to be pretty stable and pretty steady. I think if anyone were to do the buying out, Steven’s would do the buying.”  


Roy Hamilton, a driver with Transport America out of Minneapolis, Minn., says his biggest concern would be what company is doing the buying.

“Who took over the company? What type of company would it be? That would be my biggest concern. How stable was the company taking it over?”

However, Hamilton says in the trucking business, most companies operate more or less the same way, so he assumes changes would be few.

“You pick up freight you deliver freight, it’s all the same. It’s just a different name that owns the truck.”

– Do you have a topic idea for the Truck Stop Question? Contact Adam Ledlow on Twitter at Twitter.com/adamledlow or by e-mail at adam@transportationmedia.ca and we may feature your question in an upcoming issue of Truck News.


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