Port drivers from major trucking company file for union election in Los Angeles, San Diego – Daily Breeze
Southern California port truck drivers who work for a multi-billion dollar logistics company — but are listed as independent contractors — have filed a petition to have an election to the federal council managing employer-worker relations, a first step in the formation of a union and the final chapter in an ongoing and often tense labor dispute.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters said it would be the first National Labor Relations Board election involving what that union considers drivers wrongly classified as independent contractors.
Kayla Blado, spokesperson for the NLRB, confirmed that the agency had received a motion to quash and an unfair labor practice charge against XPO Logistics – although representatives for that company said on Wednesday January 19 that they all complied laws. They also said that many truckers prefer to be independent contractors.
The election would affect the 250 independent truckers working for XPO in Los Angeles and San Diego, a Teamsters spokeswoman said. That’s a fraction of XPO’s total number of drivers, according to the company.
The Teamsters, in a press release this week, said XPO Logistic drivers had been “wrongly classified as independent contractors, a legal designation that denies them basic rights and benefits, including health insurance, paid sick leave, a guaranteed minimum wage and overtime pay”.
Federal law prohibits independent contractors from forming a union.
The Teamsters have waged a long campaign to organize more than 13,000 drivers who work in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and have focused on the issue of classification. In October, XPO Logistics agreed to pay $30 million to settle class action lawsuits brought by drivers who said they earn less than minimum wage.
Joseph Checkler, a spokesperson for XPO, based in Greenwich, Connecticut, said many of those who contract with XPO “prefer the contractor model of work, given the flexibility it offers in defining their own schedule and choose their work”.
The company, he added, adheres “to all federal, state and local laws, and we believe we properly classify all individuals and companies who perform work on XPO’s behalf.”
The company, Checkler said, employs some 12,000 full-time truckers.
In fact, the majority of the company’s drivers are full-time employees, he said. XPO has about 360 independent contractors in California, Checkler said.
The Teamsters said the union election is designed to give XPO drivers an opportunity to challenge the issue “head on.”
“My fellow drivers and I are proud of the work we do every day to keep the supply chain moving and support our communities,” said Domingo Avalos, XPO driver at the company’s premises in Trade. “Our company, XPO Logistics, is trying to silence us by ignoring our union request and misclassifying us as independent contractors.”
The drivers, the Teamsters said, also filed an unfair labor practice on Wednesday, alleging that XPO’s practice of misclassifying drivers as independent contractors interferes with their right to organize and violates federal law. work.
“For years, XPO has led the race to the bottom that we have seen in the trucking industry,” James P. Hoffa, general chairman of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, said in a statement, “by circumventing or outright ignoring the law in the name of corporate profits and shareholder dividends.
Checkler, for his part, said XPO respects every employee’s right to choose or refuse union membership, adding that its employees have often refused union representation.
Fewer than 200 U.S. employees at four XPO locations as of November had elected to be represented by the union out of an eligible population of 28,000, Checkler said.
At two of those sites, Checkler said, XPO and worker representatives are in “good faith negotiations” on an initial contract.
And, he added, employees at three other sites have voted to decertify their unions in the past two years.