Teamsters Rack Up Four Organizing Wins, Add 254 Workers

From California to Connecticut, the Teamsters racked up four organizing wins in early October, in units that will represent 254 workers, combined. They aren’t just truckers, either.

As a matter of fact, in yet another show of the large union’s diversity, two of the units are part of a nationwide organizing drive among traditional truckers, with the other two units representing school bus drivers – another nationwide drive – and a small group of firefighters.

The common themes in all four wins were worker thirst for fair wages, decent health insurance and respect on the job. Details included:

• The 74 drivers at XPO Logistics, the former Con-Way Freight, in Aurora, Ill., voted on Oct. 13 to join Local 179 in Joliet. The workers toil at the less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier. Key issues were affordable, decent health care, retirement security, better working conditions and respect, said Local 1798 President Tom Flynn.

“Our victory is important to all of us because we have seen how XPO operates since taking over Con-way,” Aurora driver Cliff Phillips told the union. “XPO is treating us unfairly, denying us any voice on the job and just seems interested in the bottom line. But now we will fight back as Teamsters!” Vote totals were not announced.

• The day before, XPO warehouse workers in North Haven, Conn., voted 72-49 to join Local 443. The unit will have 127 workers. And XPO warehouse workers in King of Prussia, Pa., filed for a representation vote on Oct. 11, though no date has been set. The union also represents XPO workers in Miami, Laredo, Texas, and Vernon, Calif.

“The workers at XPO in Aurora and in North Haven sent the company a message that ‘enough is enough,’” said union Freight Division Director Tyson Johnson. “The workers are tired of being mistreated and not having a say in their work lives.” Local 443 Secretary Treasurer Daniel Flanagan added the workers overcame XPO’s “anti-worker anti-union campaign.”

“This is all about us workers standing up to this corporate bully and demanding fair wages, affordable health insurance and an end to the mistreatment,” North Haven warehouse worker Ted Furman said. “XPO’s CEO, Bradley Jacobs, had the audacity to come to our warehouse and tell us we don’t need a union, and then he returned just a couple days before the election. Well, Mr. Jacobs, we are now proud Teamster members!”

• The Teamsters’ long-running Drive Up Standards Campaign at First Student Bus Co., one of the nation’s largest private school bus operators, scored another win on Columbus Day. The unit in Uncasville, Conn., will have 26 members. The Teamsters won 86 percent of votes.

By joining Local 493, the Uncasville drivers will become part of the Teamsters’ national agreement with First Student, which bettered working conditions for school bus drivers elsewhere in the Nutmeg State, said Local 493 Secretary-Treasurer Tom Schlink. “They’ve fought through a lot of obstacles, but they never lost sight of the fact the Teamsters have driven up standards in the school bus industry,” he added.

Driver Andrea Clark told the union “the Teamsters have a proven track record of raising wages and improving benefits in the school bus industry. By voting to join the union, we’ve taken a positive step toward doing the same thing.”

• A group of 17 rural firefighters, battalion chiefs, captains, lieutenants, engineer lieutenants and administrative assistants near Stockton, Calif., joined Teamsters Local 439. They work for the French Camp-McKinley Fire Protection District. The California Public Employment Relations Board recognized their card-check win. “We will help negotiate a strong contract for these hardworking men and women,” said local Secretary-Treasurer Ken Guertin. “As public employees, they deserve to know the community has their backs.”