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Teamsters take fight with XPO to New Jersey (Read More…)

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Mar 16, 2017

The Teamsters union carried its battle with XPO Logistics to Trenton, New Jersey, where 33 less-than-truckload drivers filed a petition to organize with the National Labor Relations Board. The New Jersey drivers are the latest XPO employees to seek an election in an ongoing campaign that has made few gains in organizing the second-largest US LTL operator.

The campaign began in September 2014 with a union victory at a Laredo, Texas, terminal then operated by Con-way Freight. XPO acquired Con-way, and its organizing battle with the Teamsters, in 2015. Since then, the Teamsters have won election victories at six terminals, but they’ve lost elections as well, and XPO only recognizes the union at three three terminals.

Put in a larger context, XPO says it has more than 400 LTL operating locations in North America. The company recognizes the union at Miami, Philadelphia, and North Haven, Connecticut. XPO has challenged election victories at Laredo, downtown Los Angeles, and Aurora, Illinois. No local contract proposals have been signed by the company.


“The freight workers in Trenton are united, strong and focused on forming their union with the Teamsters so that they can address the issues that are important to them—better and affordable health insurance, retirement security and a voice on the job,” Ernie Soehl, director of Teamsters National Freight Division and Teamsters Local 701 president, said in a statement.

XPO did not issue a statement on the NLRB filing and declined to comment.

Attempts to organize large LTL companies like XPO or FedEx Freight are grueling terminal-by-terminal efforts. Today, only four of the 10 largest LTL carriers are unionized: YRC Freight, UPS Freight, ABF Freight System, and Holland, a regional LTL subsidiary of YRC Worldwide. The last time the Teamsters staged a multi-employer strike in trucking industry was in 1994.

The last major LTL carrier organized by the Teamsters was UPS Freight, which was nonunion Overnite Transportation prior to a 2005 acquisition by UPS, which is the largest Teamster employer in the United States. UPS agreed to a company-wide election that unionized the former Overnite, which had fought organizing attempts since the 1930s.

As XPO expands its supply chain footprint, it is butting heads with the Teamsters more frequently. Last month, XPO Logistics CEO Bradley S. Jacobs blasted the Teamsters after protesters disrupted the JOC’s 17th Annual TPM Conference in Long Beach, where Jacobs was speaking. Many of the protestors were independent contractor drayage drivers.

The Teamsters accuse XPO, along with many other drayage companies, of misclassifying port truck drivers as contractors, who can’t be unionized, rather than employees. The union’s “Justice for Port Drivers” campaign has mounted protests and filed lawsuits that aim to change the legal classification of drayage drivers, mostly owner-operators, to employees.

XPO has denied the allegations and attacked the efforts to change its drivers’ classification. “The vast, vast majority of our independent owner-operators want to continue to be independent, and not to be employees,” Jacobs told JOC.com at the conference. “The Teamsters have had a very small amount of success penetrating our organization.”

There are pending misclassification lawsuits against XPO in California. The issue, however, is nationwide.

XPO settled an unfair labor practices dispute with the Teamsters in Savannah, Georgia, recently by posting a sign on its premises describing employee rights to unionize. However, XPO maintains there are no employee drivers at that site, just independent contractors, and said the NLRB plans no further action there.

The Teamsters filed the NLRB complaint last fall after local police issued citations to union organizers handing leaflets to drivers outside XPO’s port terminal. The sign required by the agreement also states XPO will not interfere with leafleting outside its property. The Teamsters called the posting of the sign “a great victory.”

That in itself is a sign of how intense, local, and bitter XPO’s battle with the union is likely to be.

Contact William B. Cassidy at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and follow him on Twitter: @wbcassidy_joc

 

Posted by Admin on 04/19 at 01:14 PM
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