8/8/07

Teamsters in dues loss as bankrupt auto trucker shuts

Tandem Transport Inc., a Franklin trucking firm, has shut its doors and filed for bankruptcy. The company, which hauls parts for automobile manufacturers and is affiliated with a much larger, non-union company, JDC Logistics Inc., owes $3.5 million to $4 million and has assets of about $500,000, said Russell C. Brannen Jr., an attorney representing Tandem.

Tandem is voluntarily seeking liquidation, in which its assets would be sold to partly pay its debts. Unsecured creditors probably will get nothing, the filing said. Teamsters Local 200 has 46 members at Tandem, but Brannen said that in any given week, the company has had enough loads for only 30 to 34 drivers.

In a letter about the bankruptcy to the union, Tandem President Jeffrey T. Lorino cited cost-cutting pressure from customers, rising fuel expenses and a lawsuit settlement reached years ago.

"We will not be able to make our payment to the injured party, and the default provisions will trigger a debt of over a few million dollars being due," the letter said, according to Local 200 business representative Bob Prinz.

Brannen said the company has been making "crushing" quarterly payments under the settlement, and the total now due amounts to $2.5 million to $3 million.

Rollin Laws, 55, of Janesville, who has driven for Tandem for nearly 15 years, said the company contacted him last Thursday and told him to drop off his truck in Franklin.

Laws said he called the firm to ask why and was told that all Tandem drivers were being laid off indefinitely.

Lorino could not be reached for comment.

Tandem shares some of the same ownership as JDC, Brannen said. Federal data lists JDC as having 557 trucks and 589 drivers.

(jsonline.com)

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