We are truckers. Martin Blecha and Paul Batey. We drive DOD loads, mostly explosives, which require two drivers be in the truck. We are team drivers, we have driven together for 12 years. We work for a company called SLT in Glendale, Arizona. This company treats drivers like slaves. Two years ago, our Driver Manager (DM) authorized us for home time six weeks ahead of the need date. We only got home on time about 10% of the time for hometime, but I made it clear to her that my medical card was about to expire. I explained that I had an appointment with my cardiologist and needed a stress test before I could be renewed (DOT requirement every two years). I told her that was vacation time and if I didn't get home on time it might be up to three months before I could get all my ducks in a row again. Five days late. And they had the nerve to fight unemployment
because I had "quit". It did take 90 days to get back on the road. And we had to give up our seniority when we came back... Six months later, my co-driver developed a stomach problem. He was throwing up two or three times a day. We made an appointment with a gastroenterologist (difficult appointment to get) and got our hometime for that date approved. Four days late. The doctor found several problems, and said she'd need several appointments so we didn't even bother going back to work, we found another employer for 90 days and when the stomach problem was resolved, we contacted SLT (hey, they're jerks, but they pay well). We asked for time to do one more (expensive) run for our new employer, but the recruiting manager said he wanted us back right away so we could go on a list for one of the new trucks. When we got back, we were told that we'd be temporarily driving a truck owned by another SLT employee, which we did. We went through the same orientation as we had the previous two times, filled out the same paperwork, and signed NO contracts which changed the status or nature of our employment. Three months later, when I tried to apply for company insurance, we were told we were now "contract employees" and were not eligible. Hey, I know what that is, and there were no contracts involved. Additionally, the company refused to give us settlement statements (something like check stubs) since our rehire date (July 30), so we really have no idea what we were being paid for, what our pay rate was/is... On Dec. 15, we drove into the Phoenix yard and the employee (orientation manager) said there were holes in the muffler which made it undriveable (news to us, not on our daily pretrip), and made us leave the truck there. We figured it would be awhile. We applied for unemployment, we were told that SLT told the unemployment people once again that we quit, and we received word that the truck was finally ready to roll (four weeks?) and that we needed to be back in Arizona the next day to return to work. We obviously didn't quit, or they wouldn't be wanting us back the second the truck was fixed.