Union leaders and port truck drivers staged a protest at the annual shareholders meeting of XPO Logistics Inc. Wednesday, alleging that the carrier engages in unfair business practices at ports in the U.S. and Europe.
A crowd of more than 60 port and freight drivers, Teamsters and international union members gathered outside the Delamar Hotel in Greenwich on Wednesday morning, chanting “Hey, hey, ho, ho, XPO has got to go,” as they rallied against XPO Logistics’ treatment of its workers, both domestic and abroad, while the company’s shareholders’ meeting took place inside.
The relatively low pay and long hours in the trucking business may be the reason for the substantial shortage of qualified truckers in the United States today. To address the driver shortage, the American Truckers Association recommends “increasing driver pay, getting drivers more time at home, as well as improving the image of the driver and their treatment by all companies in the supply chain.”
“In the United States, our primary issue is the misclassification of port drivers,” said Fred Potter, director of the Teamsters port division. “In their last-mile delivery system, XPO misclassifies workers by labeling them as independent contractors but there is nothing independent about them.”
“At the ports, XPO is being drawn into a legal battle over whether truck drivers should be counted as employees or independent contractors. Several port trucking companies in California have filed for bankruptcy protection in recent months under a spate of legal settlements. Companies that employ large numbers of drivers outside the ports, including FedEx Corp., have agreed to dole out hundreds of millions of dollars to settle similar claims.”
This morning in the upscale suburbs of Connecticut, rank and file union leaders from a continent away are joining U.S. truck drivers and the Teamsters outside a shareholders’ meeting for XPO Logistics to take the company to task for its treatment of workers both here and abroad.
The nation’s busiest ports are emerging as a key battleground in the legal fight over whether truck drivers should be counted as employees or independent contractors.
The Port Authority asked the Environmental Protection Agency, the states of New York and New Jersey, and the truck drivers themselves to share the cost of a fix, but not the shipping companies, which claimed they couldn’t afford it — despite record-setting port traffic last year.
A trucking company that works at California’s teeming ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has filed for bankruptcy protection, facing a demand to pay nearly $7 million to its truck drivers over a labor dispute.
“Misclassification is not just wage theft; misclassification deliberately robs workers of their right under the law to unite for a better future,” said Fred Potter, Vice President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters and Director of the Teamsters Port Division.