Teamsters Organizing Gains at FedEx: Win in N.J.;Election Campaign OKD in VA.

WASHINGTON (PAI)–The Teamsters’ campaign to organize truckers at FedEx, the nation’s largest package shipper – whose management is notoriously anti-worker and anti-union – is gaining steam.  Local 701 won a recognition vote in New Brunswick, N.J., on October 31, four days after a National Labor Relations Board regional director ruled that Local 592 could campaign for recognition among FedEx drivers in Chester, Va.


The win and the ruling mark an acceleration in the union’s campaign at FedEx.  The Teamsters now represent all drivers and other workers at UPS, the nation’s #2 delivery firm.


But FedEx has used various tactics to prevent the union from representing its workers.  They include legislative lobbying to put its workers under the more-restrictive Railway Labor Act -– which governs labor-management relations at airlines and railroads — rather than the regular National Labor Relations Act.


The 66-42 vote brought Local 701 the win among the 113 city and road drivers at the New Brunswick FedEx terminal, just outside New York City.  On October 14, Local 107 won among drivers at the Croydon, Pa., FedEx terminal just outside Philadelphia.


“This victory is for all of us,” New Brunswick driver Mike Thiemer told the union.  “We are tired of the unfair and inconsistent work rules and policies handed down by management. It comes down to wanting to be treated with respect and dignity.”


“The workers came to us looking for fairness after years of being mistreated and disrespected,” said Local 701 President Ernie Soehl, who is also the union’s Eastern Region Freight Coordinator.  “The company continued to disrespect the workers with its vicious lies during the anti-union campaign it waged, but the workers saw through this.  In fact, we invited the terminal manager to debate the issues, but of course he didn’t show up.”


“Once again, this victory shows that drivers are fed up with FedEx Freight,” said union  President Jim Hoffa.  “The campaign is building momentum and we will work hard to win these workers the fairness, respect and dignity they deserve.”


In the Virginia case, NLRB Region 4 Director Dennis Walsh, who handles all of the union’s FedEx recognition petitions nationwide, said Local 592 could seek a win among 99 city and road drivers at the Chester terminal, just outside Richmond.


Like the other FedEx cases Walsh has ruled on, he turned down FedEx’s demand to add 89 dockworkers in Chester to the proposed bargaining unit.  FedEx’s tactic is common among devious anti-union employers: They try to expand the voting list to include workers they can pressure into voting against the union.


Walsh said the dockworkers, who are often part-timers, who do not need Commercial Drivers Licenses or to pass federal tests, who drive only in-plant forklifts and who are generally lower-paid, do not share “an overwhelming community of interest” with the drivers.