The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ordered FedEx Freight to cease and desist from refusing to bargain with Teamsters Local 439, a huge victory for the drivers who voted 33 to 12 to form their union in March 2015.
The case is yet another example of how FedEx is trampling on the federally protected rights of its workers to form their union with the Teamsters. Similar foot-dragging by the company is occurring in other areas of the country, where workers have taken the bold step of forming their union to improve their lives. The company would rather spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on union busters and violate its employees’ rights rather than negotiate a contract.
In the Stockton case, FedEx Freight has contested the union’s certification as bargaining representative of the workers, while Local 439 has filed charges alleging that the company has refused to bargain.
In a February 18, 2016 decision and order, the NLRB ordered that FedEx Freight cease and desist from failing and refusing to recognize Local 439 as the workers’ exclusive bargaining representative.
The NLRB also ordered the company to cease and desist “in any like or related manner interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed” to them under federal labor law.
The NLRB also ordered FedEx Freight to bargain with Local 439.
“This is a huge victory for the drivers who voted to form their union with Local 439 and we will continue to fight on behalf of these workers until they ratify their first contract,” said Ken Guertin, Local 439 Secretary-Treasurer.
“The International Union, working side-by-side with all the freight local unions, is committed to this campaign over the long-term,” said Tyson Johnson, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division. “We hope that the company will get serious and negotiate a fair contract for the workers in Stockton and elsewhere who have exercised their rights to form their union. The workers are seeking a better life for themselves and for their families.”
The company will likely appeal the latest NLRB order.
Meanwhile, in a separate settlement agreement pertaining to election violations that occurred prior to the March 2015 election, FedEx agreed to not violate workers’ rights to form their union.
“As part of the earlier settlement agreement, the company agreed to pay employee Edgar Aguilar about $4,900 in back pay for hours it took away from him at the time of the election,” said Rob Nicewonger, a Local 439 Business Agent. “This agreement shows that the company engaged in an intensive anti-union campaign that included management ride-alongs with drivers, pre-shift captive audience meetings, one on one meetings with workers, and regular mailings of anti-Union literature. The Company’s anti-union campaign also included remedying issues for workers and giving them benefits it had previously withheld from them in an effort to influence their votes. Finally, FedEx Freight also simply retaliated against outspoken union supporters.