NFI Cal Cartage Archive

NJ Attorney General Needs To Investigate NFI Over Tax Benefits

For Immediate Release: June 13, 2019

Media Contact: Kara Deniz, (202) 497-6610, [email protected]

TEAMSTERS CALL ON N.J. ATTORNEY GENERAL, EDA TO INVESTIGATE, PROSECUTE AND SANCTION NFI OVER TAX BENEFITS APPLICATION

Teamsters Letter Shows NFI Failed to Disclose Wire Fraud Conviction, Labor Violations in its Application for Nearly $80 Million From State of N.J.

(HAZLET, N.J.) – Today, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters sent a formal request to New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and New Jersey Economic Development Authority Ethics Liaison Officer Frederick Cole to investigate, prosecute and sanction NFI, L.P., in connection with its application for nearly $80 million in state benefits through the Grow NJ tax incentive program. The letter was signed by Fred Potter, Teamsters International Vice President At Large and President of Teamsters Local 469 in Hazlet, N.J.

“There are 55,000 Teamsters who live and pay taxes in New Jersey while working in critical industries, including transportation, logistics and public services. New Jersey Teamsters believe that our state’s limited resources should not be used to benefit irresponsible, law-breaking employers,” Potter said. “NFI should be prosecuted and barred from receiving any financial assistance from the state, including the nearly $80 million it currently stands to gain through the Grow NJ program.”

In the letter, the Teamsters provide evidence that demonstrates NFI, a national third-party logistics provider headquartered in New Jersey, lied in its application for taxpayer funds when it failed to disclose its prior conviction for three counts of wire fraud and failed to disclose pending legal proceedings alleging violations of wage and hour laws to the state’s Economic Development Authority, which administers the Grow NJ program.

The letter states that NFI’s history of violating workers’ rights should bar it from receiving state financial assistance. The company has violated laws governing hours of labor and minimum wage standards, avoided paying legally required overtime compensation, and illegally misclassified hundreds of port workers in California by claiming they are independent contractors. By misclassifying its employees, the company avoided its responsibility to cover social security, workers’ compensation and other business expenses.

Just months before NFI submitted its Grow New Jersey application, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the company was required to pay over $1 million to 357 employees to remedy its numerous violations of the law. The $1 million represented wages NFI had unlawfully denied to its dispatchers and yard spotters when it failed to compensate them for overtime work. The Department of Labor required NFI to reclassify hundreds of its employees to ensure they received overtime protections, and hire a compliance officer, among other remedies.

As a transportation and logistics company, NFI must comply with laws governing “occupations of regulated industries,” as referenced in the EDA’s regulations. In the year preceding NFI’s Grow NJ application, the company was cited for more than 100 violations by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. During that year alone, NFI violated driving safety standards, state and local speed limit laws, and hours-of-service standards, which are intended to limit the operation of commercial vehicles by drivers who are sick or tired.  

Read the letter containing a detailed list of NFI’s illegal activity and labor violations.

“NFI’s criminally false statements warrant prosecution, and those statements, along with the company’s history of violating workers’ rights should also bar it from receiving financial assistance from the EDA,” Potter said in the letter. “NFI’s willful misstatements about its criminal history, and about litigation challenging its fairness as an employer, compel the conclusion not only that NFI is an unworthy recipient of public funds, but that it is a criminal actor defrauding the state.”

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.

For more information on the port truck drivers’ and warehouse workers’ campaign, visit www.JusticeForPortDrivers.org, like us at www.facebook.com/Justice4PortDrivers, and follow us on Twitter @PortDriverUnion.

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UPDATE: Truck Drivers Who Haul Borax For Rio Tinto To Attend Rio Tinto’s AGM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, April 15, 2019

PRESS CONTACTS:

***UPDATE***

U.S.-Based Truck Drivers Who Haul Borax For Rio Tinto Attend UK Annual General Meeting, Demand Enforcement Of Company’s “Supplier Code of Conduct” In U.S. Supply Chain; Rio Tinto Chairman Publicly Agrees To Investigate and Take Action to Enforce Code of Conduct

London, England, and Port of Los Angeles, CA, USA– On Wednesday, April 10, 2019, a delegation of contract truck drivers who haul borax from the Rio Tinto mines in Boron, CA, to the Port of Los Angeles, together with Teamster leaders, attended the company’s Annual General Meeting in London, England. The drivers, who are employed by Rio Tinto’s contract drayage carrier California Cartage Express, a division of NFI Industries, attended the meeting with Teamster officials to demand an end to wage theft due to their misclassification as independent contractors (rather than employees) and enforcement of the Rio Tinto’s Supplier Code of Conduct in their U.S. supply chain.

“It took tremendous courage for the Cal Cartage Express drivers to leave their families, travel to London, and confront the global mining giant Rio Tinto. The Teamsters are proud to be supporting these men in their fight for justice at America’s largest seaport, and heartened by Chairman Simon Thompson’s willingness to listen to them and take action,” said Fred Potter, Vice President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and Director of the Teamsters Port Division. “The fact is that NFI Industries’ subsidiary California Cartage Express, which hauls borax from the Rio Tinto Boron Mine to the Port of Los Angeles, has a demonstrable track record of violating Rio Tinto’s Code of Conduct,The hard-working truck drivers who haul this heavy cargo 150 miles from Boron to the harbor have experienced wage theft due to unlawful misclassification by their employer, Cal Cartage Express as independent contractors rather than employees. The Teamsters Union is committed to making certain that Rio Tinto enforces its Supplier Code of Conduct by committing to doing business only with trucking companies that align with Rio Tinto’s values.”

“We came before Rio Tinto’s Board of Directors and shareholders to bring light to the worker exploitation taking place in the company’s supply chain and and told them why we believe that Rio Tinto must take swift action against this exploitation.” – Gustavo Villa, Port Truck Driver, Cal Cartage Express/NFI Industries.

“We’re not asking for a lot. We’re not asking to strike it rich. We’re only asking for what’s fair. We’re asking for a living wage, to be properly classified as employees. We want dignity and respect on the job. I traveled a long way to speak and I hope that by sharing my struggles the Board of Directors will open its eyes and see that injustice happening in Rio Tinto’s supply chain every day. Rio Tinto is not my employer, but they have the power to step in and stop this abuse.” – Jesus Maldonado, Port Truck Driver, Cal Cartage Express.

Rio Tinto is a global mining company headquartered in Melbourne, Australia. The Rio Tinto Boron Mine in Boron, California, is the largest borax mine in the world, producing “nearly half of the world’s supply of refined borate products.” (Source: riotinto.com). Borax, a commonly used mineral, is a component of many detergents, cosmetics, and enamel glazes. Borate compounds are used to strengthen cellphone, computer, and television LCD screens to keep them from warping under high temperature.

Rio Tinto has a Supplier Code of Conduct that requires that its vendors uphold “fundamental human rights,” including, “Ensuring all work is freely chosen; without the use of forced or compulsory labour; ensuring fair remuneration and work conditions for all workers; promoting humane treatment and preventing harassment and unfair discrimination; and respecting workers’ rights to lawfully and peacefully form or join trade unions of their choosing and to bargain collectively.”

Click here for evidence that Rio Tinto is not complying with its own Supplier Code of Conduct.

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Truck Drivers Who Haul Borax For Rio Tinto To Attend Rio Tinto’s AGM

PRESS RELEASE FOR: Wednesday, April 10, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRESS CONTACTS:

U.S.-Based Truck Drivers Who Haul Borax For Rio Tinto and Teamsters To Attend Rio Tinto’s Annual General Meeting To Demand Enforcement Of Company’s “Supplier Code Of Conduct” In U.S. Supply Chain

London, England, and Port of Los Angeles, CA, USA – On April 4, 2019, a delegation of contract truck drivers who haul borax from the Rio Tinto mines in Boron, CA, to the Port of Los Angeles, together with Teamster leaders and community and faith-based allies, went to Rio Tinto’s Port of Los Angeles-adjacent facility to advise Rio Tinto that a number of the drivers will be attending its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in London, England. (Click here to watch video of delegation). The drivers, who are employed by Rio Tinto’s contract drayage carrier California Cartage Express, a division of NFI Industries, are attending the meeting with Teamster officials to demand an end to wage theft due to their misclassification as independent contractors (rather than employees) and enforcement of the Rio Tinto’s Supplier Code of Conduct in their U.S. supply chain.

WHO:                  California (‘Cal’) Cartage Express port truck drivers, Teamster officials

WHAT:                 Annual General Meeting for Rio Tinto PLC

WHERE:               The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, London SW1P 3EE

WHEN:                 Wednesday, April 10, 2019, starting at 11:00 am (GMT+1)

LIVE WEBCAST:  Rio Tinto will be providing a webcast of the meeting at riotinto.com/webcast

Rio Tinto is a global mining company headquartered in Melbourne, Australia. The Rio Tinto Boron Mine in Boron, California, is the largest borax mine in the world, producing “nearly half of the world’s supply of refined borate products.” (Source: riotinto.com). Borax, a commonly used mineral, is a component of many detergents, cosmetics, and enamel glazes. Borate compounds are used to strengthen cellphone, computer, and television LCD screens to keep them from warping under high temperature.

Rio Tinto has a Supplier Code of Conduct that requires that its vendors uphold “fundamental human rights,” including, “Ensuring all work is freely chosen; without the use of forced or compulsory labour; ensuring fair remuneration and work conditions for all workers; promoting humane treatment and preventing harassment and unfair discrimination; and respecting workers’ rights to lawfully and peacefully form or join trade unions of their choosing and to bargain collectively.”

Click here for evidence that Rio Tinto is not complying with its own Supplier Code of Conduct.

“NFI Industries’ subsidiary California Cartage Express, which hauls borax from the Rio Tinto Boron Mine to the Port of Los Angeles, has a demonstrable track record of violating Rio Tinto’s Code of Conduct,” said Fred Potter, Vice President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and Director of the Teamsters Port Division. “The hard-working truck drivers who haul this heavy cargo 150 miles from Boron to the harbor have experienced wage theft due to unlawful misclassification by their employer, Cal Cartage Express as independent contractors rather than employees. The Teamsters Union is committed to making certain that Rio Tinto enforces its Supplier Code of Conduct by committing to doing business only with trucking companies that align with Rio Tinto’s values.”

“The California Labor Commissioner has ruled that Cal CartageExpress has broken the law* by misclassifying us as independent contractors, ruling that Cal Cartage  owes me and 13 of my co-workers $4 million.” – Gustavo Villa, Port Truck Driver, Cal Cartage Express/NFI Industries.

“I am traveling to Rio Tinto’s shareholder meeting in London and I will be speaking on behalf of my coworkers at NFI’s Cal Cartage Express to demand that Rio Tinto enforce its Supplier Code of Conduct and stop doing business with NFI.” – Jesus Maldonado, Port Truck Driver, Cal Cartage Express.

* California Cartage Express has appealed the decision.

 

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Regulatory Action and Litigation at NFI

National Freight Industries/California Cartage, based in Wilmington, CA, is one of the largest goods movement companies in America, with warehouses and port trucking operations across the U.S. Referred to herein as “NFI/Cal Cartage,” this family of companies was acquired by the New Jersey-based National Freight Industries (NFI). Previous to this acquisition, Cal Cartage was owned and managed by Robert Curry, Sr. and his family. NFI/Cal Cartage represents the largest trucking operation at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach by a wide margin.

View NFI Cal Cartage litigation and enforcement summary as of April 30, 2019

View Summary of Litigation and Enforcement since NFI Industries Acquisition of Cal Cartage

CA Labor Commissioner’s Decision on 4/10/19 regarding K&R Transportation [Summary] [Order, Decision, or Award (ODA)]

CA Labor Commissioner’s Decision on 12/28/18 regarding Cal Cartage Express [Summary] [Order, Decision, or Award (ODA)]

CA Labor Commissioner’s Decision on 12/26/18 regarding California Multimodal [Summary] [Order, Decision, or Award (ODA)]

NFI/California Cartage Employees Call on Lowes and TJ Maxx to Do the Right Thing

PRESS ADVISORY FOR: Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRESS CONTACTS:

NFI/California Cartage Employees Call on Company’s Customers – Such as Lowes and TJ Maxx – to Work With New Tenant at Prime Port Property

PORT OF LOS ANGELES, CA In January, after three months of operating without a valid lease, NFI Industries (formerly the California Cartage family of companies), the largest trucking and warehousing company serving America’s leading port complex, announced its intention to vacate prime property owned by the Port of Los Angeles. This decision came three months after the LA City Council unanimously revoked NFI’s lease in the wake of the seventh strike by warehouse workers and port truck drivers at the site. On Mon., Feb. 11, 2019, the Port of Los Angeles issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a new tenant for this critical site, which is strategically located in the Port’s “heavy weight corridor” and offers preferential tax treatment due to its historic designation as a “Foreign Trade Zone.” (Click here for a summary of regulatory action and litigation at NFI/California Cartage.)

“Our employer, NFI/Cal Cartage, has chosen to abandon its operations in Wilmington, its workers, and the community. For years we’ve spoken up about unsafe equipment, racial discrimination, retaliation, and intimidation at NFI/Cal Cartage. Instead of cleaning up its act, the company is leaving the Port. We’re looking forward to a new company being selected to operate on this property, one that will abide by the law and treat us with dignity and respect,” said Jeremy Hoke, an NFI/California Cartage warehouse worker.

“My coworkers and I work hard and depend on our jobs. We move merchandise off of shipping containers and through warehouses before it ends up in stores. This is back breaking work and we do it to support our families and to contribute to our community. At the hands of NFI, we’ve faced widespread wage theft and ongoing abuses that have fallen deaf on NFI/Cal Cartage’s ears. Now we have the opportunity to work for a good employer. We transport goods for NFI/Cal Cartage customers like TJ Maxx, Lowes, Puma, Rio Tinto, and more. We want to keep working on this property and for these customers, but we need a new company to be chosen that is going to respect us,” said Gustavo Villa, port truck driver, NFI/California Cartage Express (CCX).

NFI abandons workers at Port of LA rather than reach agreement to end labor disruptions

Justice for Port Truck Drivers

PRESS ADVISORY: Wednesday, January 16, 2019

PRESS CONTACTS:  Barb Maynard and Kara Deniz, [email protected]

Leading Logistics Company at Ports of LA/Long Beach with Long Track Record of Breaking Labor and Safety Laws Resulting in 7 Disruptive Labor Strikes Chooses to Abandon Workers Rather Than Reach Agreement to End Labor Disruptions 

PORT OF LOS ANGELES, CA – After three months of operation without a valid lease, NFI Industries, the largest trucking and warehousing company serving America’s leading port complex, has announced it’s intention to vacate property owned by the Port of Los Angeles. This decision comes three months after the LA City Council unanimously revoked NFI’s lease in the wake of the seventh strike at the site, calling upon the Harbor Commission to ensure the lease included provisions to prevent future labor disruptions. It is unknown at this time if NFI will attempt to negotiate a lease for it’s two trucking subsidiaries, California Cartage Express (CCX) and K&R Transportation, to remain on the property. Both entities are the subject of massive litigation and regulatory action because of NFI’s illegal business model that relies on misclassifying truck drivers as “independent contractors”. NFI’s decision to leave the property rather than bring the company into compliance with all local, state, and federal laws presents a much-needed opportunity for the City and Port of Los Angeles to seek a tenant that will follow the laws to avoid the labor disruptions that have plagued the Port property.

NFI warehouse workers and truck drivers have endeavored for years to improve their working conditions, filing multiple claims and carrying out seven strikes in the past three years. However, the company has continuously violated labor laws, resulting in multiple unfair labor practice (ULP) charges and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decisions.

In 2016, workers at the NFI/California Cartage Warehouse held an NLRB election in hopes of joining the Teamsters. In the course of that election, the company broke numerous laws largely casting serious doubt on the legitimacy of that election, including unlawfully threatening and intimidating workers and engaging in coercion, surveillance, and retaliation of workers during the election. Workers were unlawfully disciplined and terminated for Union activity. Following an investigation was conducted, a trial was held, and a decision is currently pending. “We have always welcomed the opportunity to have a second election at the warehouse; however, it is clear by their behavior that the company does not want to have a fair, honest, and lawful election,” said Eric Tate, Secretary-Treasurer, Teamsters Local 848. “I am amazed that the Company is willing to turn tail and run away rather than sit down with us and have a conversation about working out our differences.”

The following is a statement from Teamsters Port Division Director, Fred Potter:

“NFI should act responsibly and stop pointing fingers at the Teamsters when its NFI that has continuously and persistently broken the law. If the company is unwilling to follow the law and play by the rules, and in so doing so puts the Port’s proprietary interests at risk, then they are wise to vacate the property to make room for a company that will follow the law.

“The Teamsters have had a demonstrable track record of attempting to work collaboratively with NFI/Cal Cartage executive leadership – first under the ownership of the Curry Family and now under the ownership of NFI Industries – to bring the company’s trucking and warehousing operations into compliance with the law.

“NFI management has rejected every single effort to resolve outstanding issues raised by port truck drivers and warehouse workers employed at the Wilmington property.

“The recidivist behavior of the company has hurt workers, their families, and the communities in which they reside, and perpetuated an unfair and illegal business model at America’s largest port complex. As a result, the Los Angeles City Attorney has filed a lawsuit against three NFI trucking subsidiaries and the workers have been left no recourse but to strike seven times over the past three years.”

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