Trucking Firm Willig Files Chapter 11, Closes


Willig Freight Lines, a 72-year-old trucking company that shipped goods throughout California and four other western states, is no longer operating after filing for reorganization under federal bankruptcy laws.

With a fleet of 2,500 trucks and trailers, Willig employed 800 drivers and other personnel, nearly all of whom will lose their jobs, the company said.

Willig said the relatively high wages and work rules required under the union contracts that covered its entire work force, combined with fierce price cutting in an industry that is increasingly using lower-paid, non-unionized workers, "forced the company to cease operations."

Willig, which is based in the Bay Area city of Pleasanton, said it shut down Friday after seeking court protection from its creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The company's petition listed assets of $32 million and liabilities of $29 million, Michael McQuaid, a lawyer handling the filing, said Monday.

The privately held company was considered one of the larger regional truckers in the West, having operated in California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Its major terminals in Southern California were in Vernon and Fontana. The company had annual revenue of $80 million to $100 million, McQuaid said.

A much bigger unionized trucker, CF MotorFreight, a unit of publicly held Consolidated Freightways Inc. that ships nationwide, last week posted a $5.6-million loss for the third quarter, also citing "overcapacity and aggressive price discounting" in the industry.

Willig executives could not be reached for comment Monday; telephone calls to the company's headquarters went unanswered.

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