Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022:

Gypsum Express sued by EEOC over alleged discriminatory hiring practices

Baldwinsville, New York-based Gypsum Express (CCJ Top 250, No. 174) is being sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over allegations of sex discrimination in hiring, as well as retaliation and constructive discharge involving two former recruiters.

EEOC alleged in its lawsuit that Gypsum has engaged “in a pattern or practice of hiring discrimination because of sex” in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Gypsum said in a statement to CCJ Monday that while it does not comment on pending litigation, the company “has been dealing with this EEOC investigation for the last five years and has fully cooperated with the EEOC’s investigation.

“Based on the information the company has presented in response to this investigation, we are disappointed that the Commission has decided to file this lawsuit,” Gypsum added. “The company has always been an equal opportunity employer, and we look forward to presenting our defense in court.”

The commission alleged that Gypsum has hired female flatbed drivers “at statistically significant lower rates than male drivers,” adding that between June 2016 and September 2017, the company had a same-sex trainer/trainee policy in place “that precluded recruiters from hiring inexperienced female applicants for driver positions” because the company did not have any female trainers “and was unwilling to pair female trainees with male trainers.”

EEOC added that Gypsum hired significantly fewer female drivers before, during and after the same-sex trainer/trainee policy.

Additionally, EEOC alleged that a former recruiter was fired in retaliation for opposing the company’s discriminatory hiring practices and forced another recruiter to engage in discriminatory hiring practices, which adversely affected her terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, allegedly forcing her to quit.

EEOC seeks lost wages, compensatory damages, and punitive damages, as well as a permanent injunction and ongoing reporting and monitoring procedures to ensure that Gypsum Express complies with the law in the future.

Meritor axle issue prompts Daimler, International recalls

Navistar and Daimler Trucks North America recently announced recalls related to a reported defect in certain Meritor steer axles.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents, Meritor reported that cracking in two tie rod clamps had been discovered on their manufacturing line and that they had contained the issue to a certain affected population.

That population included approximately 451 model year 2022-2023 International HX severe-duty trucks and approximately 36 model year 2023 Western Star 4700, 4900, 49X, 6900, and Freightliner 114SD trucks.

The recalls state that the tie rod clamps may not have been properly heat-treated, causing them to fail and allowing the tie rods to separate, which could cause a sudden loss of steering.

Navistar said its dealers will replace both tie rod end clamps for free. Owners can contact Navistar’s customer service at 1-800-448-7825 with recall number 22520. NHTSA’s recall number is 22V-711.

Daimler dealers will also replace the tie rod clamps for free. Owners can contact DTNA customer service at 1-800-547-0712 with recall number FL955. NHTSA’s recall number is 22V-722.

New RNG station opens in Ohio

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony with state and local officials, agriculture leaders, and company executives at its new renewable natural gas (RNG) station in Groveport, Ohio.

Amazon trucks will fuel at the station, which also will provide public access for local fleets seeking access to RNG, a sustainable fuel produced from organic waste.

“Large fleets fueling with RNG have the ability to realize immediate and significant carbon reduction, especially in the heavy-duty truck sector, which could be many years away from meaningful electrification,” said Andrew J. Littlefair, president and CEO, Clean Energy. “The opening of our station in Ohio is exciting because it’s the first of many more to come throughout the U.S. and will help efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce climate change.”

The Groveport station is the first construction project completed in an agreement between Clean Energy and Amazon. Many of the 19 new stations will follow Groveport and should be operational by the end of the year, supplementing Clean Energy’s fueling network of 550 stations in North America.

The new station includes multiple fast-fill dispensers for easy in-and-out fueling of RNG; time-fill posts for up to 52 trucks, allowing for cost-effective fueling and transmitting real-time data to customers; and 52 parking places for drivers’ personal vehicles. This multi-million-dollar investment in the Columbus, Ohio, area will put it on the map as a hub for clean, sustainable fueling. Plans are already underway to add fueling capacity for additional heavy- and medium-duty trucks.

FMCSA chief to speak at WIT conference

Robin Hutcheson, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, will be the opening keynote speaker for the Women in Trucking Association’s annual Accelerate! Conference & Expo.

The conference will be held Nov. 13-16 at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, and Hutcheson will speak Nov. 14. WIT says the conference is the largest event to encourage employment, address obstacles, and celebrate the successes of women in the trucking industry. WIT expects more than 1,300 attendees this year. 

“We are thrilled to have Administrator Hutcheson share her perspectives on safety in the trucking industry, supply chain challenges, and the truck driver shortage,” said Ellen Voie, WIT president and CEO. “WIT has worked closely with the FMCSA in recent years, and recently hosted Hutcheson on a truck ride-along to help her better understand driver issues. The former deputy administrator, Meera Joshi, was WIT’s keynote speaker in 2021.”

This will be WIT’s eighth annual Accelerate! Conference & Expo and the third year the association has held a virtual version of the event, which will take place Dec. 6-7. The in-person and virtual conference will feature more than 60 educational sessions on critical transportation and logistics issues through the lens of gender diversity. Topics will be relevant to professionals involved in leadership, human resources/talent management, operations and safety, sales and marketing, and driver recruiting and engagement.

Additionally, more than 100 speakers and facilitators will be featured from leading companies such as Amazon, Walmart, Yellow, Navistar, Kenworth Trucks, Peterbilt, Great Dane, Bridgestone, XPO Logistics, J.B. Hunt Transport, Penske Transportation Solutions, DAT Freight & Analytics, Truckstop.com, UPS, Coyote Logistics, Waymo and Plus. 

The event also will feature an expo with more than 150 companies representing more than 1,000 products and services valuable to the transportation industry.