KENT, Wash. - Hundreds of workers with a major trucking company were told after their shift that the company was out of business and they were out of a job, and some workers at Express Transport trucking think a recent choice by voters led to the sudden shutdown.
KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Gary Horcher spoke to laid-off workers at the headquarters in Kent Wednesday night.
Express Transport truck drivers got the unexpected message while making deliveries across Washington and six other states.
"I was doing a delivery up in Sumas and I was told that unfortunately, when I got back, we are no longer in business, " said driver Grant Gifford.
KIRO 7 heard from sources around the trucking industry about a possible reason for the sudden shutdown. Express Transport, which has terminals from Washington to California to British Columbia, was thriving when Washington state ran the liquor business. Workers say 70 percent of the liquor sold in the state was shipped to stores by Express Transport.
"We hauled liquor, which was our major account, and after the turn when it became independent, that kind of put a very big damper on us," Gifford said.
Workers said when voters decided to allow sales of alcohol in supermarkets, Express Transport was no longer hauling liquor for the state.
Workers said the loss of business was staggering and said Express was a great place to work. Express Transport worker Stephanie Schultz said workers would brag about how lucky they were to work there.
"Most employees here always bragged about how much they liked it here. You know, our employees, we were tight knit. We were friends," she said.
Some estimate 500 workers are out of jobs. No one from the company's corporate offices was available to comment Wednesday evening.
Workers said they're hoping to get a last paycheck before Christmas.