YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Employees of Falcon Transportation, a trucking company headquartered in the Youngstown-area, are out of work after they were abruptly notified by email late Saturday that Falcon is out of business, shutting down and that employees are to cease whatever work they are doing immediately.
"I was talking to one of the guys and they were telling me that a lot of the drivers, as soon as they got the message, they were literally just dropping their trailers and heading home with their truck," said Joshua Beere, a former operations manager for Falcon.
Employees said the fuel cards issued by the company were no longer working, leaving some employees on the road and unable to get home.
"I have a driver who lives in Florida right now that's stranded in the Austintown yard and hasn't received his paycheck and doesn't even have money for food tonight. I may have to go down and give him some money for food tonight if he doesn't get paid by morning," said Mike Russell, a load planner for the company.
"As far as I know the DOT number is no longer valid so they can't even really operate the vehicles on the street without having problems with the police, so these drivers are essentially stranded where they are at," he added.
Russell said he drove to the company's headquarters Saturday evening after getting the news, found the building locked and his key card deactivated.
Truckers for the company said they did not get their weekly pay on Friday.
"Our paychecks, they weren't direct deposited like they normally do Friday mornings and then they said there was computer issues or whatever and we wouldn't get paid until late that night. This is the third time and they just pulled the rug out from under us right now," said Tim Gudin, a driver who was planning to retire in three years.
Employees said Falcon Transport may be the latest to have suffered from the fallout after General Motors closed its Lordstown Assembly plant in March.
"We were obviously hauling the equipment for them that, you know, they were either manufacturing the vehicles or the products to assemble the vehicles as well. They were doing that frequently. We had round the clock service for them 24 hours and when that came in as a loss it was a pretty tough thing to overcome," said Russell.
Falcon had, apparently, attempted to ship more of what employees call "general commodities," but had difficulty making payroll.
Russell said the rates for hauling general commodities has significantly dropped from just two years ago and, even in the present day economy, there is less freight available to ship.
In a statement to FOX 8 News on Sunday U.S. Congressman TIm Ryan, a democratic presidential candidate called the news "heartbreaking."
"We need national policies that are helping create the new jobs of the future,” Said Ryan.
FOX 8 also reached out to Falcon Transportation via email, the company's Facebook page and by phone, but as of Sunday evening the company's administrators had made no public statements.
Employees said while the news is not a complete surprise, it would have been better for them had they been given some advance notice that their company was planning to shut down operations completely.
"I have been personally trying to reach out to each individual as much as I can because there was no communication whatsoever from the company to the individual about any of that, so its kind of like one man takes on everyone," said Russell.