Continental Express Hits Bumpy Road

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, May. 4, 2009 12:00 am  

Ralph Bradbury, right, the former president of Continental Express Inc., and Pete Campbell, the former executive vice president of CEI, were the only two executives retained by the Celadon Group Inc., which bought the truckload, intermodal and brokerage b

Employee Issues
Ronald Baird of North Little Rock had worked in Continental’s road assist department for five years when he learned on Dec. 17 that he wouldn’t have a job.

“They gave us one week notice,” he said. “We got no vacation pay. We got no severance pay. We got nothing.”

Baird is one of 38 former Continental employees who have sued Continental in an attempt to receive their vacation or severance pay, which they said they were entitled to according to the company’s employee handbook.

The lawsuit is seeking class-action certification for the approximately 470 Continental employees who lost their jobs because of the sale, according to the lawsuit filed by attorney Abraham Bogoslavsky of Little Rock. (Bradbury told Arkansas Business in December that Celadon rehired about 300 drivers. But about 250 jobs were lost as a result of the purchase.)

The employees said they were supposed to receive their vacation payments in their Dec. 26 checks but didn’t, the lawsuit said.

“And for some employees [their paycheck] did not include all wages due and owing,” Bogoslavsky said in the lawsuit.

The employees are suing for breach of contract and failure to pay wages due.

“I’m 60 years old and I get laid off a week before Christmas,” Baird said. “I still don’t have a job. … I’m sitting here trying to live on unemployment, and that’s a joke.”

Continental denied the employees’ allegations in its answer filed in the case.

The attorney for Continental, Michael Moore of Little Rock, didn’t return a call for comment.

In another lawsuit, this one filed in U.S. District Court in Little Rock, the Continental employees have alleged that Celadon Trucking Services Inc. violated the Worker Adjustment & Retraining Notification Act because it didn’t give employees 60 days’ notice that they would be out of a job.

The employees are seeking class-action status for that lawsuit as well and want back pay and benefits up to a maximum of 60 days plus at least $200,000 for each member of the class.



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