Aftermarket

Truckers Negotiate Agreement with Supervalu Over Lumping Allegations

June 04, 2009

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The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has reached a tentative settlement with Supervalu, the retail grocery company.
The association, along with Joe Rajkovacz and Carl Schaefer Jr., filed a class action lawsuit accusing the company of coercive unloading practices. The agreement must be approved by the court.

The class action suit, which was filed in 2005 in the U.S. District Court for Minnesota, disputed the grocer's requirements that drivers show proof of insurance coverage the association said was "grossly over and above the requirements of federal statute." Without that insurance, truckers were not allowed to unload themselves; instead, they were required to pay out of pocket for an unloading service, or "lumpers," to unload Supervalu's cargo.

"For all truckers, this settlement means that the practice by receivers to post ludicrous insurance requirements as a method of forcing them to pay for unloading is a violation of the unloading statute," said Rajkovacz, OOIDA member and plaintiff in the case.

If the proposed settlement goes through, the association would be able to move forward with an appeal of a district court ruling that the unloading regulation does not provide reimbursement for payments drivers were wrongly required to pay to lumpers.

Both parties will ask the court to set a date for a "fairness hearing," where any class members opposing the settlement may be heard.

"Those in the supply-chain that view truckers as a profit center when it comes to unloading would be wise to reconsider their policies," Rajkovacz said.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is a national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has nearly 160,000 members nationwide.

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