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Car-Towing Firm Says Rescues Taking 3 Hours Because of Labor Shortage

  • The co-owner of a California towing firm said it’s taking up to three hours to rescue stranded motorists.
  • It’s because an enduring labor shortage has led to understaffing at the firm, they told The WSJ.
  • The typical rescue time before the pandemic was 20 to 30 minutes, they said.

A car-towing company in California said it’s taking up to three hours to rescue stranded motorists because it’s struggling with a staff shortage.

This is up from the 20 to 30 minutes it usually takes when the company is fully staffed, Nadia Haddad, co-owner of Freeway Towing in Monterey Park, told The Wall Street Journal.

Freeway had 70 employees before the pandemic but now has only 46, despite having bandwidth for 100 employees or more, Haddad told The Journal.

Like many other businesses in the US, Freeway has suffered from a staff shortage since the pandemic struck. Many workers have quit their jobs during the Great Resignation in protest of low wages, poor benefits, and unsatisfactory working conditions.

Longer wait-times for stranded motorists meant more customers were making complaints, prompting more employees to leave the company, Haddad told The Journal. Freeway workers used to stay at the company for up to 12 years but now stick around for a maximum of two years, she said.

In an effort to retain staff, Freeway has offered bonuses, raised hourly wages, and has paid for its workers to become “Class A” drivers so they can drive tow trucks, cranes, and other large vehicles — but it’s nonetheless struggling to match benefits offered by bigger companies, including paid time off, Haddad told The Journal.

“What we do for a living is rewarding,” she said. “It’s just that the competition is magnificent. It’s significantly more magnificent than me.”

Insider wasn’t able to reach Freeway for comment.

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