Schneider National Carriers Inc. will pay $28 million to settle a long-standing dispute over wages for meal and rest breaks for drivers in California.
The settlement, disclosed last week, ends a class-action lawsuit filed in 2008 by drivers who said they were not paid for breaks or for waiting at docks for their cargo to be loaded or unloaded.
Judge Jeffrey White of the U.S. District Court in Oakland issued his final approval of the class-action settlement Thursday after granting preliminary approval of the proposed settlement in May.
The lawsuit affects about 7,700 current or former Schneider drivers in California.
In a 2014 ruling, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that California could enforce its own meal and rest break requirements for the trucking industry. The trucking industry has fought to reverse that decision.
In his first major speech since becoming president of the American Trucking Associations this month, Chris Spear said the trade group would continue to push back against jurisdictions that are imposing extra meal and rest break requirements on interstate drivers already limited by federal hours-of-service regulations
The trucking industry is supporting legislation working its way through Congress that would block states from enforcing their own rules on interstate truck drivers who are employees.
In California, the legislation would still allow the state to enforce meal and rest break requirements on a driver who, for example, travels only between Bakersfield and Oakland hauling goods manufactured within the state. That is a purely intrastate movement. But drivers headed out of state or are shuttling goods from ports most likely would be not fall under the California rules.
The class-action lawsuit, Bickley v. Schneider National Carriers Inc., said the carrier, which is headquartered Green Bay, Wis., engaged in other improper pay practices.
The lawsuit claimed that Schneider failed to pay California drivers minimum wage, a violation of the California Labor Code, and failed to pay employees wages for vacation time, personal days off and other paid leave owed when they left the company. Drivers also alleged in the suit that the company failed to keep accurate pay records of wages that drivers earned while working in California.
The settlement came just a day after Schneider announced plans to pursue an initial public offering next year.
Schneider is the nation’s seventh-largest trucking company and is the largest privately held trucking company in the U.S. by revenue. It garnered revenue of $3.4 billion in 2015. The company has more than 10,000 trucks and 33,800 trailers.
Al Schneider founded the firm in 1935, and it has been family-owned ever since. In a statement, executives said they are seeking the IPO “to facilitate continuity of controlling ownership of Schneider by the future generations of the Schneider family, while continuing forward with its long-standing independent and professional corporate governance structure.”