Sudden layoffs for Houston trucking company employees

HOUSTON "I usually don't cry," said former Houston Arrow Trucking employee James Cooey through tears. "I ain't cried in years."

It's not the Christmas Cooey planned. There were supposed to be presents under the tree for teenager Payton and five-year-old Brook. Now, he says, he can't even look them in the eye.

"You go tell that beautiful little girl you can't give her everything she wants no more," he said.

Until Monday night, Cooey was the fleet manager for Arrow Trucking's Houston terminal. Then the company's Tulsa headquarters abruptly shut down. And now, everyone is out of a job.

"We were told to stop doing what we were doing," said dispatcher Kevin Jewell. "We are all out of work."

Even though their last checks bounced, former employees consider themselves lucky because they were at least home in Houston when everything collapsed. Hundreds of other drivers are stranded at truck stops across the country.

"The fuel cards aren't good anymore, so if you run out of fuel, you're stranded," said driver Steve Kouns.

The only Arrow trucks now on the move are the ones driven away by repo companies. For former employees like Cooey, the holiday spirit is hard to find.

"What else is there to say?" he said. "You just lost your livelihood."

On its website, Arrow Trucking is described as one of the country's largest and most financially sound flatbed motor carriers. It runs a fleet of 1,400 tractors and over 3,000 trailers operating throughout the United States and in Canada and Mexico. The company has been in business since 1948.

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