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.
Logistics company says trucking giant sought employees and confidential information after XPO acquired Con-way Inc.
XPO Logistics entered the highly-fragmented market for less-than-truckload business last fall with its acquisition of Con-way. . PHOTO: XPO LOGISTICS INC.
Feb. 5, 2016 4:26 p.m. ET
XPO Logistics Inc. is suing competitor YRC Worldwide Inc. over the hiring of several former employees, alleging that the trucking company conspired to steal customer and pricing secrets by poaching its executives.
The lawsuit, filed Feb. 3, pits two of the largest trucking companies in the U.S. against each other over the trade secrets that are at the heart of the highly competitive freight shipping market.
The complaint grew out of XPO’s takeover last October of Con-way Inc. and its Con-way Freight unit that is the second-largest in the country offering less-than-truckload service, in which shipments from multiple customers are combined on trucks. YRC Freight is No. 3 in that market.
In its complaint, XPO asks the court to order YRC to return any trade secrets and company information it holds and to stop employing for a year former XPO employees, including two top executives who had come to XPO through the company’s acquisition of Con-way.
XPO alleges in the complaint that two of the employees, longtime senior executives at Con-way Freight, had “informally” accepted job offers with the competitor weeks before their departures but delayed their resignations. XPO said it believes that was so the executives could get more “confidential information and trade secrets, including but not limited to its most valuable competitive strategies” as XPO prepared to restructure the Con-way operation.
A YRC Worldwide spokesman said in an email that the company declined to comment on the complaint.
The lawsuit comes after XPO, which under Chief Executive Bradley Jacobs has used a rapid series of recent acquisitions to become a multibillion-dollar freight brokerage and transportation services provider, moved directly into the trucking market last year with its $3 billion purchase of Con-way.
Last month, YRC said it had hired former Con-way executives Paul Lorensen and Chet Richardson as vice presidents. XPO said the executives had moved to YRC last November, days after the XPO acquisition had closed.
XPO said in the lawsuit that Messrs. Lorensen and Richardson were “highly compensated, given extensive training, and entrusted with XPO Freight’s highest level of Confidential Information and Trade Secret.” It said the executives were part of a steering committee that worked closely with McKinsey & Co. on a strategic project to transform the company, and helped develop potential new segmented service offerings aimed specifically at competing with YRC.
Reached by phone, Mr. Lorensen said he would have no comment on the complaint. Mr. Richardson did not respond to emails and other messages seeking comment on the allegations in the XPO complaint, and a YRC spokesman said he and Mr. Richardson wouldn’t comment on pending legislation.
The lawsuit accuses YRC of encouraging the executives to “remain surreptitiously at XPO Freight for several weeks before ending their employment,” of falsifying offer letters and of encouraging the executives to disclose the confidential information.
In addition, XPO said, “YRC is offering each poached sales employee a special commission or bonus for each XPO Freight customer they bring with them to YRC.”
The other employees named in the lawsuit were sales and operations personnel hired by YRC that XPO said had “confidentiality obligations.”
Since acquiring Con-way, XPO made a series of cost reductions in its new division, including cutting 190 administrative, back-office and management jobs, and closing seven freight terminals.
XPO Logistics Inc. has closed seven freight terminals in the
former Con-way Inc. trucking network, extending cost reductions at the business
it acquired last fall.
The shutdowns in what
XPO said were remote locations follow the elimination of 190 jobs last week in
what the company said were back-office areas of the former Con-way Freight
less-than-truckload operation, which sells delivery services on trucks for
“We’re continuing to
migrate to a more efficient LTL organization, with better network efficiency
and greater utilization of our capacity,” XPO said in a statement. “As part of
our planned restructuring, we decided to close seven service centers in remote
areas without exiting any markets.”
The company declined
to identify the locations of the closed terminals.
XPO said shipments
from the customers near the sites would be processed through other, larger
facilities, making those operations more efficient. “All of our LTL customers
have continuity of service during the transition,” the company said.
The $3 billion Con-way
purchase completed last October capped a rapid series of acquisitions in recent
years that have built XPO into a $14 billion operation. XPO Chairman and Chief
Executive Bradley Jacobs has said the company is taking a break from
its buying spree to focus on integrating the businesses it acquired last year,
including Con-way and French trucker Norbert Dentressangle.
Shares in XPO, which
reports full-year 2015 earnings on Feb. 23, were up more than 11% in trading
Thursday, to $24.24.