Sudden Shut Down Is “Dirtiest Thing I’ve Seen,” Says Former LME Driver
New Brighton, Minnesota – Less-than-load (LTL) carrier, LME, Inc. is now under investigation by state officials after it abruptly shut its doors last Thursday without providing required 60-day layoff notices or paying its more than 600 employees for weeks of work.
According to multiple published reports, Minnesota state officials are already investigating the circumstances surrounding the sudden closure of LME.
The LTL carrier had more than 400 drivers and operated out of 30 terminal locations across the U.S. before suddenly closing its doors on Thursday, July 11 without warning.
On Friday, July 12, LME posted a message to its website saying the company “ceased operations” due to “unforeseen circumstances.”
Further, the message apologized for the “inconvenience of the situation” and said the company planned “to utilize an alternate carrier to assist in getting all freight delivered.”
Additionally, officials said, “some staff are remaining to help with that.”
However, Transportation Nation Network (TNN) has confirmed LME did not provide 60-day layoff notices to workers required under the federal Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.
LATEST ON LME’S SUDDEN SHUT DOWN
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development officials are reportedly seeking an explanation from LME’s executive leadership about the company’s failure to do so.
Additionally, former LME employees have confirmed to TNN they did not receive a final paycheck last Friday.
Numerous Minnesota news outlets also covering LME’s closure have reported the same.
Sources tell TNN that LME’s policy is to hold two weeks of pay.
Since LME allowed workers to put in almost a full week of work last week, the company has left nearly three weeks of wages unpaid to hundreds of its employees, according to those TNN has spoken with.
“The Dirtiest Thing I’ve Ever Seen”
Joe Habeck has been a driver with LME for almost 8 years operating out of the company’s Courtland, MN terminal.
On Saturday, he told Transportation Nation Network (TNN) he believes the way LME officials handled the company’s closure was “the dirtiest thing I’ve ever seen.”
Habeck said he was going about his day on Thursday, as he normally would, when he received a message via the in-cab communications system at 3:45 p.m. informing him his remaining two pickups had been canceled.
Thinking it must have been a mistake, Habeck said he called his dispatcher.
“Don’t pick anything up and just come back,” Habeck said he was told.
When he arrived back at the terminal he said a company official gave him the startling news.
“Grab your stuff. We are closed. Don’t come back. Good luck,” Habeck said he was told.
The 53-year-old husband, father, and grandfather said he’s not sure what to do next.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’ve got no health insurance now. I have $200 in savings and a car payment due next week,” Habeck said.
Still, Habeck said he is confident he will “rise from this.”
He has already been contacted online by other carriers interested in employing his services.
He also intends to file a grievance against LME with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry seeking nearly $2,400 in back pay.
Financial Pressure Mounted On LME “Because Of Lakeville Motor Express”
Habeck said he was recently told by a person he trusts in LME’s upper management that money was tight.
In fact, Habeck said this person told him in order to make a recent payroll he “had to go into his personal finances.”
When asked why he believed LME closed its doors, Habeck said, “I think it was because of Lakeville Motor Express.”
LME was reportedly under financial pressure due to recent settlements with the Minnesota Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) stemming from the abrupt closure of Roseville, MN-based Lakeville Motor Express in 2016.
Stay with TransportationNation.com for the latest developments on this story.
Click HERE to read more about what happened at Lakeville Motor Express and the controversy that followed.
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