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XPO drivers in N.J. agree to join Teamsters

Drivers at XPO Logistics, Inc.’s (NYSE:XPO) facility in Cinnaminson, N.J., an eastern suburb of Philadelphia, have agreed to join Teamsters union Local 107, the Teamsters said. The vote, by a 19-4 margin, will affect 24 drivers in Cinnaminson.

The development is the latest in an ongoing battle between the union and the Greenwich, Conn.-based transport and logistics giant over organizing its transport and warehousing employees. Since 2014, XPO employees have organized in six cities, and the company has prevailed in nine others. Petitions were withdrawn in five additional markets, a sign the Teamsters believed it would not have the votes to succeed in those markets.

XPO and the Teamsters have crossed swords over working conditions and alleged employee misclassification at the southern California ports, where XPO has a presence mostly through its cartage operations. Earlier this month, the New York Times ran a lengthy expose of employee miscarriages at XPO’s Memphis warehouse allegedly caused by the loading and unloading of heavy shipments and by difficult conditions inside the warehouse. The Times article also contained allegations that XPO supervisors would deny employee requests to be switched to less strenuous work. XPO, which has denied the allegations, said the story was being pushed hard by the Teamsters as part of the union’s effort to target the company for organizing.

The Teamsters are attempting to expand into organizing global supply chain operations, and have made no secret that penetrating XPO’s distribution center networks in the U.S. and Europe is a top priority. For his part, XPO Chairman and CEO Brad Jacobs has little regard for unions, and even less for the Teamsters, which has staged raucous anti-XPO rallies at public events attended by Jacobs and other executives.

The company said in a statement that the outcome “won’t change the direct working relationship XPO enjoys with more than 45,000 employees across North America. The constructive relationship we have with our employees allows us to work directly together to serve our customers and make XPO an even better place to work.”

The Teamsters have accused XPO of subcontracting out driver work at the facility, of harassing employees in an attempt to coerce them into rejecting representation, and of fostering an atmosphere of anti-union sentiment. Workers have filed as many as 6 “unfair labor practice” claims with the National Labor Relations Board charging XPO operatives, among other things, with asking workers how they planned to vote, according to Galen Munroe, a union spokesman.

XPO would conduct surveillance on the employees, and in some cases would stand on the dock to watch them work, Munroe said. XPO representatives were not visible until the organizing campaign began, according to Munroe.”

Mark Solomon

Formerly the Executive Editor at DC Velocity, Mark Solomon joined FreightWaves as Managing Editor of Freight Markets. Solomon began his journalistic career in 1982 at Traffic World magazine, ran his own public relations firm (Media Based Solutions) from 1994 to 2008, and has been at DC Velocity since then. Over the course of his career, Solomon has covered nearly the whole gamut of the transportation and logistics industry, including trucking, railroads, maritime, 3PLs, and regulatory issues. Solomon witnessed and narrated the rise of Amazon and XPO Logistics and the shift of the U.S. Postal Service from a mail-focused service to parcel, as well as the exponential, e-commerce-driven growth of warehouse square footage and omnichannel fulfillment.