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Sunday Morning Book Thread - 09-04-2022 ["Perfessor" Squirrel] | Main | First-World Problems...
September 04, 2022

Get Woke Go Broke – Big Rig Edition

The CEO of one of the country’s largest trucking companies made a big splash just over a year ago, when he declared the trucking industry racist, bigoted, and in need of enlightenment. And shocker, he was just the guy to enlighten us.

Barely a year later the company is in chaos. It’s losing money, laying off employees, and spreading its layoffs out such that the mass dismissal of its employees doesn’t violate federal employee-notification requirements.

We’ll take a look at the recent problems, but first let’s take a visit back to summer of 2021, when US Xpress CEO Eric Fuller accused his industry and his employees of being bigots, sexists, homophobes, and racists.

Trucking industry must support diversity and inclusion efforts – Eric Fuller, CEO of US Xpress [Freightwaves – 6/20/2021]

In recent months, I’ve become increasingly enlightened that the existing divisive rhetoric around diversity and inclusion within the trucking industry could significantly impact the growth and transformation of U.S. Xpress and our entire industry.

I’m calling on trucking and logistics business leaders large and small to begin taking steps to create a culture more accepting of others from different races, ethnicities, genders and sexual orientation.

This change won’t be easy and will take uncomfortable conversations and challenging opinions of the past. We should face the fact that our industry is behind others and needs to play catch-up.

Mr. Fuller offers contrition for being born a straight, white male, of course. But as a white savior, he is still not above using racist terms such as “Latinx,” a word that is well-documented as being a culturally offensive slur favored by affluent whites.

As a straight, white male, what I see as positive characteristics for opportunity within our industry is different than what a gay, Black or female person may see — or someone of Asian descent, someone who is trans or Latinx.

Unsurprisingly, this privileged white man who inherited his executive position from his daddy, accused truck drivers of being toxic people with white privilege.

Start talking to team members from minority communities within your organization and listen to them. Ask them to tell you how they view the openness and inclusion within our industry. Put yourself in their shoes. Think about the advantages that you have and how different their experiences are than yours.

CEO Fuller really, REALLY likes slandering his employees and his industry as being racist, doesn’t he?

In the previous year, I’ve interviewed multiple, highly skilled candidates for roles at U.S. Xpress. While each candidate has his or her own story, overwhelmingly I heard them talk about the lack of acceptance of diversity and perceived lack of opportunity within our industry.

While I admit that U.S. Xpress has a long way to go in developing a more inclusive culture…

Mr. Fuller made it very clear that the focus of his leadership had nothing to do with shipping goods, or making a profit, but instead on things such as creating “a safe space for open dialogue about important issues that impact women, the LGBTQ+ community…”

You’ll never guess what happened next.

Actually, you could predict exactly what happened next - the company started circling the drain. It had a massive financial loss in the first quarter of 2022 and then laid off about 5% of its workforce.

U.S. Xpress Lays Off 5% of Workforce After $8.9 MILLION Loss [5/13/2022]

One of the largest trucking companies in America dismissed a significant portion of its workforce this week.

Following a loss of more than $8.9 million in the first quarter of 2022, U.S. Xpress has laid off five percent of its employees.

Did that cure US Xpress’ woes? No, it did not. Another awful quarter just led to another massive round of layoffs.

Truckload carrier U.S. Xpress announces 2nd round of corporate layoffs; Company has cut roughly 10% of its corporate workforce [Freightwaves – 8/23/2022]

Since May, the trucking giant has cut about 10% of its corporate workforce, around 140 office jobs.

In May, the truckload carrier laid off 5% of its corporate workforce, amounting to around 70 of its 1,400 office employees at the time.

The 140 employees that were dismissed were not given 60-days notice as required by the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (“WARN Act”), which regulates how large companies engaging in mass layoffs must notify its employees of the impending job terminations.

While the WARN Act does make certain exceptions when layoffs occur due to unforeseeable business circumstances such as natural disasters, I’m not sure a CEO going woke qualifies as an unforeseeable natural disaster. US Express states that it did not violate federal law because no individual layoff event triggered compliance with the WARN Act – there were two separate layoff events separated by a few months. You would think, however, that a compassionate, enlightened leftist like Eric Fuller would have the decency to dismiss his employees in a way that comports with the spirit of federal mass-layoff laws.

In fairness to CEO Fuller, it may not be the wokeness that actually destroyed his business. Although the collapse of the company commenced shortly after he became a woke evangelist, he likely knew how badly he had mismanaged the company, and how bad things were about to get.

Struggling companies often embrace wokeness to receive critical acclaim that shields them from criticism as their business crashes. Megan Rapinoe was hired as a spokesperson for struggling companies Subway and Victoria’s Secret for that very reason.

As demonstrated by Eric Fuller of US Xpress, wokeness is the last refuge of C-Suite scoundrels. Maybe he can hire Megan Rapinoe to be his spokesperson.

(buck.throckmorton at protonmail dot com)

digg this
posted by Buck Throckmorton at 11:57 AM

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