Truck-driving is a modern form of indentured slavery / Boing Boing
The current situation stems from a California rule that banned out-of-date, polluting diesel trucks from its ports. Trucking companies bought all-new trucks with better emissions profiles, then forced their workers to sign contracts through which they assumed all debt for this new fleet, with payments to be taken from their paychecks. The workers were made to sign on pain of immediate termination, without access to a lawyer or advisor, and many didn’t speak or read English well enough to understand the contracts.
Rigged. Forced into debt. Worked past exhaustion. Left with nothing. - USA TODAY
A yearlong investigation by the USA TODAY Network found that port trucking companies in southern California have spent the past decade forcing drivers to finance their own trucks by taking on debt they could not afford. Companies then used that debt as leverage to extract forced labor and trap drivers in jobs that left them destitute.
If a driver quit, the company seized his truck and kept everything he had paid towards owning it.
If drivers missed payments, or if they got sick or became too exhausted to go on, their companies fired them and kept everything. Then they turned around and leased the trucks to someone else.
Drivers who manage to hang on to their jobs sometimes end up owing money to their employers – essentially working for free. Reporters identified seven different companies that have told their employees they owe money at week’s end.