Freon Logistics, a trucking company based in Bakersfield, California, has filed for bankruptcy and some employees have recently protested to demand unpaid wages.
Documents filed Nov. 8 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of California show the company, which its website says offers truckload, less-than-truckload, intermodal, repair and maintenance, and warehousing services, benefits from Chapter 11 protection strives for the documents were signed by CEO Hardeep Singh.
The purpose of Chapter 11 is to reorganize a corporation through a court-approved plan of reorganization. It frees a company from the threat of creditors’ lawsuits while it repairs its finances.
According to court documents, Freon Logistics employs around 500 people, including truck drivers, administrative staff and others. It is unclear whether Freon’s affiliated companies – Freon Group, Freon Trucking, Freon Cold Storage or Freon Garage – are affected by the filing.
According to local news outlets, some employees gathered outside the company’s headquarters on Monday to protest.
“I have a couple of colleagues who haven’t been paid for a few weeks, even months, two months, that’s what I’ve heard the most,” Joel Juarez told local news station KGET. “It was for a couple of my co-workers … it was over $12,000, $16,000 that was owed. As for me, I owe $2,000, which is a bit low, but I still need the money to pay my bills and take care of things around the house. You know I have a family to take care of.”
A TikTok captured at the scene and posted by the kern_county_activities_ account shows a group of disgruntled employees gathering around the Freon Logistics building, with a driver claiming to have worked for the company for four years shouting at a Freon employee or representative : “They don’t care about anyone else. You only mind your own s-, man. That’s all you’ve done, man, whatever you’re talking about, that whole cop…” he says.
Attempts by FreightWaves Wednesday to reach the company and the law firm representing it were unsuccessful.
Some employees told KGET that the company had promised to pay the workers on Monday but had backed out, claiming the bank had frozen the company’s accounts.
In a new court filing Monday, the company asked the court to allow it to pay administrative costs and employees.
“It is critical that the debtor be able to continue its business operations without delay or interruption in order for the debtor to reorganize its business and financial affairs under Chapter 11,” the filing reads.
The bankruptcy filing also states that the company expects the business to be profitable while the proceedings are ongoing.
Bill Prough, a safety manager at Freon, told a KBAK reporter that financial problems were to blame, but the workers were getting paid.
“Some of our drivers don’t get paid, you know. It’s not that they don’t get paid; You’ll get paid,” he said. “Income goes down and costs go up, and … people don’t get it, drivers don’t get it.”
According to KBAK, the transport ministry was on the scene this week after the agency’s attempts to reach the company were also unsuccessful. FreightWaves has reached out to DOT for comment.
A Facebook page and other social media accounts for the company were down as of Wednesday.