Five black drivers for Marek Menger’s ASAP Freight company say their contracts aren’t being honored by the company. Menger has a history of disputes and lawsuits involving questionable honesty and business practices.
The drivers are contractors who transport industrial equipment, locally and long-haul, and are supposed to get paid a commission based on the percentage of what each load’s customer is charged. They say billed amounts have not been shared truthfully by the company, which makes calculating or checking their correct compensation impossible.
The drivers shared their experiences with Quanell X, who held a press conference outside Menger Valve and ASAP Freight – Menger is an owner of both and the two companies share the same address – on Tuesday, September 15th.
Quanell X’s summary of the drivers’ experience includes, “They are losing thousands of dollars of pay. They can’t pay their bills,” the activist said. “They were supposed to receive one thing and never got it. When they ask for the right money, they are retaliated against and punished with fewer loads.”
An August 2018 filing in Harris County District Court by Patrick O’Hara of the O’Hara Law Firm on behalf of Robert Patrick McGuire (Case No. 2018-52287) against ASAP Freight and individual defendants including Marek Menger alleged underpayment on commissions. That lawsuit was resolved in January 2020 without a trial.
Another filing in October 2018 by O’Hara and his law firm, which has progressed into a class of eight suing truck drivers, remains in progress in Harris County District Court (Case No. 2018-72036). The working-class plaintiffs are predominantly people of color, O’Hara said. This summer, a judge signed an order compelling Marek Menger to submit to a deposition in the case.
Both lawsuits accuse ASAP Freight of failing to disclose the full amounts paid by customers to drivers, who then could not determine their accurate shares and subsequently lost wages. “Working people just want an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work,” O’Hara said. “Marek Menger is taking advantage of people in a weaker position. They are depending on him to be fair and they are relying on him to be honest.”
O’Hara estimates that his clients, all former ASAP Freight employees, were underpaid by $3,000 to $30,000 over a few months to two years.
According to Quanell, there have also been reports by black employees of unequal treatment regarding political expression at work. Menger is a staunch Trump supporter and if an employee wears something supporting Obama, Biden, or Harris, “you are told that you’re going to have to take it off or go home.”
The drivers are simply demanding the fair pay they were contractually promised for the work they provided.